Nikola Trujic was delighted when he joined Russian premier league club FC Tosno in the summer of 2017. The Serbian forward would face quality opposition and receive a good salary for two years. Things worked out differently.
The club went bankrupt in May 2018 and Trujic is still waiting on most of the money he was entitled too. “They still owe me 5 monthly salaries and all my bonuses from the first year.” There was no second year; FC Tosno was dissolved in June 2018.
Everything went well in the first half year, but in January 2018 the club stopped paying. Whenever Trujic or a teammate complained, the club said: “Go home. Everything will be alright. We are talking with a sponsor.”
Nothing ever happened.
“I played half a year for nothing”
“They asked me to sign a paper, then I would get a fraction of the money I was owed. I refused.”
Even after FC Tosno surprisingly won the Russian Cup final, nobody got paid. Three weeks later, the club was declared bankrupt.
“I could not believe it. I played in a good league, we won the cup, but I was left with nothing. I felt really bad.”
“How was it possible that the Russian football federation let this happen? It allowed clubs to sign players to big contracts and then let clubs go bankrupt. The federation should have protected us, but it didn’t do anything.”
Nine days after FC Tosno, Amkar Perm also went bankrupt. “One of my friends played there. He only received a small amount of his money.”
FC Tosno ceased to exist, but that same summer FC Leningradets Leningrad Oblast arose from the club’s ashes. Just like Amkar Perm disappeared and FC Zvezda Perm emerged.
It took longer for Trujic to reappear on the pitch. Last season, he only played on two short-term contracts before signing a three-year deal with Hungarian club Debreceni VSC last summer.
“That situation in Russia almost cost me 1.5 year. I played half a year for nothing and I had difficulties finding a new club.”
“Of course, I am more careful now. I only signed with Debreceni after checking the club and the country. I decided to play for less money, but in a place where my money is safe. Here in Hungary, everything is fine.”
“It’s very good news for me and in the future it will help a lot of other players”
Trujic took his case to the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber, but the case was stopped: as FC Tosno is dissolved there is no club which could pay him the money he is entitled too.
The FIFA Fund for Players, which FIFA and FIFPRO agreed to established, aims to provide financial support for players, such as Nikola Trujic, who have not been paid and have no chance of duly receiving the wages agreed with their clubs.
“Of course, I am happy with the fund. It’s very good news for me and in the future it will help a lot of other players. It’s some form of protection. Although I will not get all the money I am still owed, something is always better than nothing.”
Players who believe they are eligible to benefit from the Player Protection Fund can contact FIFPRO at: email@example.com
You should show the absolute impossibility to recover you salary from a club following a decision of a judicial body or court.
In your application for compensation, you should provide all documentation and evidence in your possession, such as a copy of the relevant employment contract, the court decision, a summary of your situation and information on the status of your former club. Should we need further information, FIFPRO will contact you.
The decision to grant or reject your applications will in principle be made once a year by a committee composed of FIFA and FIFPRO representatives.