New FIFPro report maps footballers’ working conditions

Photo: Sam Cox/Flickr

Photo: Sam Cox/Flickr


By Play the Game
Late pay, low wages and forced transfers are among the basic working conditions of footballers, says new report from FIFPro that calls for reforms in the industry.

In a recently released report, the international football players’ union FIFPro unveils the results from a survey concerning working conditions conducted among close to 14,000 players from 54 countries and 87 leagues in Europe, the Americas and Africa. A separate report exists that covers Asia and Oceania. The results show that for a large part of players, the life as a professional footballer entails irregular pay, uncertain futures and a short career.

“For many players, the market powers are stacked against them – low pay, short career, short contracts and a high probability of facing abuse of disrespect of countries,” the report says.

According to the report, the average length of contracts are just under two years. The survey also shows that only 2% of the players have a yearly salary exceeding $720,000, while 45% of the surveyed players earn less than $1000 a month. 41% of the players who participated in the survey say that on at least one occasion, they have not received their salary on time.

7% say that they have experienced direct approaches with offers to fix matches, a number that is higher (11%) for players over the age of 30. The likeliness of players being approached rises in the lower-wage brackets and among those players who are paid to late, the survey shows. Cyprus is the country that has the highest percentage of players who have experienced approaches of match-fixing. Here, 40,5% of the respondents said that they were aware of fixing.

Among the players who responded in the survey, 29% percent who were moved for a transfer fee, indicate that they were put under pressure to join a club against their will. 6% of the surveyed also say that they have been put under pressure to rescind or renew their contracts by being forced to train alone.

“This report for the first time provides a detailed and accurate picture of what the average professional player experiences. We now have an evidence base for the reforms that are needed in the football industry. Overdue payables, forced transfers and training alone – all this must be a thing of the past," FIFPro General-Secretary Theo Van Seggelen said in a press release presenting the report.

“We need to build a package of measures with all stakeholders. Clubs, leagues, confederations and FIFA must accept those failures of our industry. We need to guarantee minimum employment standards for all players and clubs in all countries, reform the international regulations and think about the economic future of football. The new FIFA president announced that he wanted to work with the professional game to bring about much needed reform. This report must be the starting point.”

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