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Covid-19 Blog: what FIFPRO and our unions are doing

FIFPRO and its 65 member unions are supporting professional footballers worldwide to cope with the consequences of the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. With this blog, we keep you updated about our activities.

28 May 2020

Australian players agree to return and help prevent unemployment

The professional footballers in Australia agreed with the football federation and the A-League on a plan to restart the competition and finish the season.

Player union Professional Footballers Australia discussed the return to play with more than 250 players during the two months since play in Australia was stopped in March.

“The health of players and the broader community has been central to our discussions but, given the wide-ranging complexities this pandemic has posed, the final agreement spans far beyond that”, union president Alex Wilkinson explained.

“We have had to consider the economic impact on the game from grassroots all the way up to the top tier, the strain on players’ mental health, their individual and collective financial situations, sporting integrity and player contracting. Without a deal, hundreds of players would have been left unemployed this Sunday.”

“Throughout this process, the players have shown incredible patience, leadership and collective unity to intelligently navigate through one of the most challenging situations our game has ever faced.”

Alex Wilkinson HH 1100
Alex Wilkinson, President of Professional Footballers Australia

26 May 2020

Montenegrin union protects players from unemployment

A fine example of a good collaboration between a player union and a football association. In Montenegro, the FA – upon proposals of the player union (SPFCG) - announced that all contracts that were due to expire at the regular end of this season (June 30th) will be extended until the new end date of the season against identical terms for the additional months. This prevents that some players are left unemployed.

Contracts which were due to start at the beginning of the new season (July 1st), will now in principle commence on the date the new season.

Player union (SPFCG) has been in constant dialogue with the FA and has agreed to the changes.

In its communication, the football association added that it does not allow unilateral decisions by clubs to adjust player salaries. These changes should be collectively bargained with the players or with the player union.

The league in Montenegro will resume play on Saturday May 30th and the season is expected to finish on July 28th.


26 May 2020

Unions distributing food to professional footballers

Player unions in seven Latin American and African countries are distributing food packages to professional footballers who have not received their salaries, or had massive pay cuts, after leagues were suspended to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Football needs to protect its people now!”


11 May 2020

Mental health support by Bulgarian player union

The Bulgarian player union ABF launched a mental health campaign, which includes specialist support. Professional football players in need can call a dedicated telephone line to consult sports psychologist. T

he ABF also provides their members with specific advice to stay mentally and physically fit.

"We hope that our support will help more players to overcome stress and deal more easily with the negative emotions in these difficult times," the ABF team said.


8 May 2020

No health protection and no pay, but clubs in Gabon want to play ...

FIFPRO wrote to the Gabonese football association (Fegafoot) to demand an urgent solution to health and non-payment issues.

Recently, the League announced to restart the competition, which was suspended for two months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the League has not arranged any health and safety guarantees for players.

Next to that, 70 percent of the players have not received their full salaries since the season started in January. Despite various requests from the Gabon player association (ANFPG), the League has not reacted.

FIFPRO also informed FIFA and Africa’s football body CAF about the situation in Gabon.

Read more: https://anfpg.divisionafrica.org/fr/engagement-social/sante-et-precarite-des-footballeurs-ou-quete-de-la-deuxieme-tranche-de-la


5 May 2020

Survey: Swiss players want to abandon season

A majority of Swiss players wants to cancel the current season. In a survey, conducted by Swiss player union SAFP, they also indicated that player health should come first.

Over the weekend, more than 140 players (union members) gave their opinion on issues including return to play, health, match congestion and pay. Among other things ...

  • 94% of players say player health should be top priority
  • 64% are in favour of abandoning the current season
  • 79% demand that the player union can have its own specialists study the league's return to play concept
  • 86% reject a two-month quarantine of the entire team at a specific location.

Click here to download the survey results and the media release of the Swiss player union.


20 April 2020

Number of players reporting symptoms of depression has doubled

The number of professional footballers reporting anxiety and depression symptoms has risen sharply since measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19 caused the suspension of professional football activities, a survey by FIFPRO and Amsterdam University Medical Centers has found.


20 April 2020

French players have serious doubts about returning to play

Players in France have indicated that they want more safety guarantees before returning to the football pitch. According to a survey by French union UNFP, with more than 1,000 participating players, 75 percent of players said they fear an injury or fear spreading the virus, and a majority says they are not ready to resume under the current sanitary conditions.

In an article in newspaper Le Monde UNFP co-president Sylvain Kastendeuch seriously questions whether the league should finish the season.


17 April 2020

Salary guarantee by Montenegrin club

The player union of Montenegro (SPFCG) welcomed the promise of the directors of FK Buducnost Podgorica, the country’s biggest club, who guaranteed their players to pay their salaries until the end of the Covid-19 safety measures. As in other countries, all sporting activities have been cancelled and people have to stay at home.

The SPFCG said the guarantee of the club removed a lot of insecurity for the players. The player union hopes that other clubs will follow the example of FK Buducnost.


17 April 2020

The threat of Covid-19 for women's football

FIFPRO yesterday released a paper and warns that the growth of professional women’s football and evolution into a strong and viable industry is threatened by the implications of Covid-19. The livelihoods of many female players are extremely vulnerable.

Click here to read the FIFPRO paper.

This paper explains that one of the findings shows that many clubs will provide “housing [51% of players surveyed saying they received help with it], health insurance [44%], and food [37%]” instead of financially compensating players, and encourages clubs to “ensure that players are not left without these essential items as a result of the crisis”.

Read more in the Guardian.


17 April 2020

Irish union ready to support players with mental health questions

FIFPRO next week will release the results of a global survey about the mental health of footballers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Irish player union PFAI released their country’s findings earlier this week and its executive Ollie Cahill told Mirror Sport about the support the union can provide to footballers during this lockdown: "For those struggling, it's all about taking the next step - to come forward to us because the structures are in place now. (…) It's a difficult time right now for everyone, but what we'd say is don't be afraid to talk to us."


17 April 2020

Players in Cyprus refuse grossly disproportionate salary reduction

FIFPRO is asking the Cypriot football association (CFA) to immediately reconsider their proposal to reduce player salaries, as this proposal would lead to players earning far less than a living wage for the months of March, April and May.

Click here to read more.


14 April 2020

Stay Home in Ghana

Ghanean player union PFAG is one of many African unions who have launched a Stay Home Awareness Campaign to tackle the coronavirus. Various local players are telling their audience to stay home.


14 April 2020

Malaysian union: “Covid-19 is not an excuse to cut salaries”

Malaysian player union PFAM informed their players and the clubs that teams who owe their players money must settle the arrears first before talking about pay cuts, and that all negotiations and agreements in regard to pay cuts should be done individually with the players (case-by-case). “This is because players do not earn the same salary.”


14 April 2020

French player talks about appalling behaviour of Romanian club

FIFPRO and Romanian player union AFAN are appalled by the behaviour of Romanian club FC Astra Giurgu, who asked their players to accept a 9 month 50% salary reduction if they want to get their salary arrears of January and February.

French player Julien Bègue talks about this situation to French website So Foot: "Now we noticed that they have not been honest to us."


10 April 2020

FIFPRO puts focus on player mental health

FIFPRO general secretary Jonas Baer Hoffmann explains that the mental health of players is a huge consideration. Because of all the uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, players could experience "enormous distress".

Click here for the English version.

Click here for the Spanish version.


9 April 2020

Belgian union launches player council and welcomes many new members

Professional footballers in Belgium and their union ACV Sporta have created a player council, which wants to be part of the decision-making process in national football.The council consist of fifteen members including national team players Simon Mignolet and Vincent Kompany (who is also a member of FIFPRO’s Global Player Council).

The Belgian union also welcomed more than 100 new members.


8 April 2020

FIFA and FIFPRO present new guidelines for player contracts

FIFPRO assisted FIFA in defining guiding principles for regulatory and legal issues. The Covid-19 pandemic has many consequences for professional football, for example for player contracts and registration periods. To help solve these issues, FIFA created a working group, which included FIFPRO, representatives of the confederations and the representative bodies of the leagues (World Leagues Forum) and clubs (ECA).

FIFA strongly encourages clubs and employees to work together to find appropriate collective agreements on a club or league basis.


8 April 2020

French footballers agree with salary reduction

Footballers and clubs in France's top two leagues have reached a non-binding agreement over a "temporary" pay cut during the coronavirus crisis, French player union UNFP said.

"The idea is that players defer a part of their April wages to allow clubs to cope during this dramatic health situation," UNFP president Philippe Piat told press agency AFP.

Players making less than 10,000 euros will not be affected.

The pay cuts will be calculated on a sliding scale starting at 20 percent, with the highest earners -- players who earn over 100,000 euros monthly -- facing a 50 percent reduction.


8 April 2020

Colombian union fighting gender discrimination

Colombian players' union Acolfutpro is fighting for the female players of Independiente Santa Fe. The club suspended the contracts of all women footballers, while it reduced the men’s salaries with 50%.

“This decision violates the condition of female footballers, who must be respected and granted the same rights as male footballers,”


7 April 2020

Income reduction will hit some players hard

FIFPRO general secretary, Jonas Baer-Hoffman, discusses the current situation in professional football including the pros and cons of salary reduction.

"Many players are on low salaries, so any kind of income reduction will hit them and their families hard."

Click here to listen to the 30-minute podcast.


7 April 2020

FIFPRO and CAF want Burundi to stop football

The African football federation (CAF) is going to tell the Burundi football association to suspend or stop league football in their country. FIFPRO had requested CAF to act, in order to protect the health of the players and the general public. The east African nation is one of only four countries worldwide where league football continues despite the coronavirus pandemic.

7 April 2020

Italian union angry with proposal for wage reduction

Italy’s Serie A league has recommended that clubs impose wage cuts of between two and four months’ pay on playing and coaching staff during the coronavirus outbreak.

Italian Players’ Association (AIC) rejected the proposal. "The same Presidents who would like a suspension of salaries sent their teams out to play until March 9, made them train until mid-March and still monitor and control individual training carried out according to the directives of their coaches," union president Damiano Tomasi said.

According to the AIC many players are already collectively negotiationg with their clubs about salary reduction.


7 April 2020

"The best solution is to collectively bargain"

FIFPRO lawyer Alexandra Gomez Bruinewoud discusses the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic on player contracts in professional football during a special webinar by LawInSport.

She explains that “The best solution is to collectively bargain.” Unfortunately she has also noticed that “Some people are trying to benefit from the situation. In Venezuela they wanted to reduce salaries for 3 years..."


7 April 2020

Greek footballers help raise 150,000 euros

The Greek football player union has raised more than 150,000 euros for the national health service to help in the fight against coronavirus COVID-19.


7 April 2020

Suspended Dispute Resolution Chambers

Some player unions noticed that in their countries the dispute resolution chambers (NDRC) have also been suspended by the national football association. At this moment FIFPRO is aware that the courts in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Malta and Romania are not functioning.

FIFPRO and the local player unions in these countries have informed these football associations that there are other ways to organise meetings by NDRCs, for example by video conference, just like FIFA’s dispute resolution chamber is doing.


7 April 2020

Female players' salaries remain untouched in Mexico

Alvaro Ortiz, general secretary of Mexican player union AMFpro, discusses the situation in Mexico. He explains that some players have agreed with their teams to reduce their wages, but that female players and other staff, will receive their full salaries.


7 April 2020

Maltese union creates daily player training program

The Maltese player union MFPA developed a 7 day individual training program together with a UEFA Pro licence coach and a strength & conditioning coach. The video has English subtitles. The MFPA will post a new video each day.


7 April 2020

Spanish union seeks help

Spanish player association AFE has sent a letter to the Higher Sports Council with various questions from professional footballers, including those concerning their health, finances and restart of the league. With this letter AFE hopes to remain involved in all necessary dialogues.