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The Costa Rican professional footballers’ association ASOJUPRO managed to secure a minimum salary for all players in the country’s top two divisions. ‘The approval of these minimum wages for our professionals players will mark a better future of footballers’ labour rights in Costa Rica’, said executive director Steven Bryce.

 

A year ago, in March 2010, ASOJUPRO handed over a formal request at the Ministry of of Labour and Social Secutiry (MTSS) and asked for the introduction of a minimum wage for professional footballers.  In December 2010 the players’ union secured the introduction of a minimum salary for players in Costa Rica’s Primera División (First Division). A few weeks ago, ASOJUPRO also finalized the negotiations for the minimum wage in the Segunda División (Second Division). 

 

The minimum wage for footballers in the Primera División is 590 USD, in the Segunda División it is 480 USD. ‘The amounts are satisfactory’, according to Bryce. ‘We have made progress in the search for  better rights for our football players, especially for those in the Segunda División which were the most unprotected.’

 

ASOJUPRO is delighted with the introduction of the minimum wages. Bryce: ‘We made a huge step in our country by making the government recognize that a professional football player is a professional worker who must have the same benefits and rights as any worker in Costa Rica. This resolution will have its benefit in the long-term, as the youngest football players will finally have a better opportunity to professionalize their career.’

 

One of those younger players is Andrés Lezcano, player of Club Sport Cartaginés (Primera División). ‘I started playing football because my dad liked it very much, later it became my passion’, Lezcano said. ‘When i was in the Segunda División I earned 100 dollars a month, which was very little. That money was hardly enough to pay for my bus tickets and sports drinks.’

 

‘I was old enough for a regular job, so I almost decided to quit football and go to work in a tapestry in order to gain more salary. I did start working there because it was necessary.’ But luckily, Lescano did not end his career as a footballer. Nowadays he has become a key player for his team Cartaignés, scoring goals in important matches.