FIFPro is advising all professional football players to be very critical before signing a contract with a new club. FIFPro is giving a negative recommendation to players who want to sign with clubs in Cyprus, Greece or Turkey, especially those that don't play in European football.
FIFPro is thus seconding the negative recommendation on transfers of players previously issued by the Dutch players' union VVCS (see box). FIFPro recommends that national footballers' unions support this recommendation.
It's in July and August that clubs go in search of new blood, and professional footballers seek to change clubs. Clubs do everything possible to win players over, offering them fabulous wages, a luxurious home, ambitious plans, a bonus for signing a contract, a bonus scheme or a percentage of a future transfer payment.
Unfortunately, FIFPro has found that many clubs don't keep these promises.
Generally, after a few months, the club turns out to be short of financial resources, so the player has to wait months to be paid his wages. He very often never collects. Some players find themselves forced to abandon their homes, because the club cannot or will not continue paying the rent. And bonuses are never mentioned again.
A player who has lost out is left with no other option but to start lengthy legal proceedings via the Dispute Resolution Chamber -- the FIFA DRC -- in order to get what is his by right: his wages. Sometimes this turns out to be impossible because the club has meanwhile declared itself bankrupt.
FIFPro is advising players that, before signing a contract, they should obtain information from the national football players' union regarding the situation of that club, and the country.
FIFPro mainly wants to caution players and unions about the bad behaviour of clubs in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. Cyprus has for years occupied the first position, by a wide margin, as regards the number of disputes submitted to the FIFA DRC, while Greece and Turkey are vying for second position. In all three countries, the number of disputes increases every year. The only exceptions are those clubs that play in European football: these accept the UEFA club licensing system, which reduces the risks.
FIFPro has learned that FIFA has recently expanded its legal department, hoping that this way it will be able to deal more quickly with the many disputes. FIFPro is pleased that FIFA intends to dedicate more resources to resolving these cases. But, at the same time, FIFPro is aware of what this decision implies: the enormous number of unresolved disputes requires the involvement of new lawyers.
The number of cases handled by the FIFA DRC is only a small part of the real problems. The FIFA DRC only deals with disputes in the international sphere. National players can't have recourse to FIFA, and in addition options are very limited at national level. On the other hand, many problems are solved by the intervention of, for example, the national footballers' unions.
In FIFPro's view, compliance with a professional contract of employment between a club and a player is a primary requirement in professional football.
VVCS, the Dutch Association of Contract Players, has advised players not to go to Cyprus, Greece or Turkey. ‘Don't do it!’, was the warning that its director, Louis Everard, gave players. In his opinion, at least 50 per cent of players from the Netherlands will have serious problems in those countries with non-payment of wages.
- Published: 21 August 2013