FIFPro is warning professional footballers about signing for Romanian clubs because of the risk they will not get paid.
FIFPro’s Global Employment Report, released in November, showed that 75 percent of players in Romania had to deal with late payment in the past two seasons. “The situation is getting even worse,” said Emilian Hulubei, the president of Romanian player union, AFAN.
In 2015, the union had 257 cases at arbitration and appeals committees. That number grew to 287 in 2016. “It is very frustrating,” Hulubei said. “We are spending all our time on wage complaints of players. We don’t have time to work on other programs such as education or health.”
Photo above: Files with hundreds of player's unpaid wage complaints at Romanian player union AFAN's office in Bucharest.
Several Dutch players are among foreign players who have encountered problems in Romania. Many of them were only paid during their first month. One player stated he had only received 400 euro of the “few hundred thousand” he had signed a contract for.
Some players were forced to sign documents stating they had received all their money.
“Romanian clubs have created an economic model of how to cheat players,” said Louis Everard, director of the Dutch player union (VVCS) and a FIFPro board member.
"This conduct is antisocial, indecent and totally unacceptable."
Even after successfully claiming unpaid wages at FIFA arbitration committees or the Court of Arbitration for Sport many players still struggle to get the money they are owed.
In the Romanian top league (Liga 1) four clubs are insolvent. In the second division, four clubs have disappeared due to bankruptcy during the season. Three others are in insolvency.
When a club goes bankrupt, it is practically impossible for a player to get his money.
“There are clubs who can never to pay the salary that they offered a player,” Hulubei said. “They will pay the first salary or the signing fee, but nothing more. They simply use the player. When the transfer window opens, they get rid of him.”
FIFPro strongly advises all players to contact the Romanian union before joining any club. “We know which club can actually pay the salary it is offering,” Hulubei said.
About Romanian football
Romanian football is dealing with a lack of sponsors. Most of the clubs rely on TV money or money from local authorities. “Only a few clubs in the highest league have a real sponsor,” Hulubei said.
Even fans are turning away because of renowned clubs going bankrupt or scandals involving club owners. Attendances have steadily declined to a match average of about 2,700 this season.
AFAN is in talks with the government in an effort to make the league more sustainable.
- Published: 21 April 2017