- payment of salaries and bonuses
- bullying and harassment
- racism and discrimination.
In total 3,357 footballers cooperated in our study, while unfortunately hundreds of other players were afraid to participate fearing reprisal from their club, fans or criminals. We and our union employees listened to players tell their story in tears and, at the same time, insist that their story had to remain absolutely confidential.
We presented the results in February 2012, by handing over our Black Book to representatives of European Parliament in Brussels.
Some of the main results:
- 41% of respondents said their club did not pay salaries on time
- 53% said their bonuses are not paid on time
- 5% of players had to wait more than 6 months for their salary
- 16% of players had been forced to train alone
- 12% of players was a victim of a violent act
- 12% of players said they had been approached to fix a match
- Players who were not paid on time also had a much higher risk of training alone and approaches for match-fixing.
The Black Book was our first main study into working conditions of professional footballers and its results generated a lot of attention. However, many football federations from Eastern Europe continued ignoring the problems players had reported.
Only after FIFPRO and UEFA, together with the representative organisations of the European Clubs (ECA) and Leagues (EPFL), signed their agreement on the Minimal Conditions for Standard Players Contracts in April 2012, things started improving slowly.
The Black Book also was a building block for the match-fixing prevention campaign by FIFPRO, UEFA, the European Union and Birkbeck University called Don’t Fix It.