“For years, ACV Sporta has defended the rights of professional footballers in Belgium. Now, we, the players, want to support our union more visibly, just like players in other countries do,” the player council said in the letter which was signed by all fifteen members, including national team players Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge), Igor De Camargo (KV Mechelen), Vincent Kompany (Anderlecht, all three on top photo), Vadis Odjidja (AA Gent) and Faris Haroun (Antwerp FC).
Kompany is also a member of FIFPRO’s Global Player Council.
The Belgian player council is a direct consequence of the Covid-19 crisis. The Belgian player union assembled all the team captains together in a video conference to discuss the current situation in Belgian football, which made players realize that collectively they have a much stronger voice.
“We are convinced that we can deliver a positive contribution to Belgian football”— by Belgian player council
In their letter, the player council requests the League, the Football Association, the Minister of Sports and various governmental institutions integrate the player council in decision making.
“When you discuss issues that have an impact on the position of players in professional football, then the player council, as the steering body of the player union, wants to be part of a constructive debate.”
“We are convinced that we can deliver a positive contribution to Belgian football.”
League director Pierre Francois immediately reacted positively, saying the engagement of the players “will contribute to better football and more commitment”.
More than 100 new members for player union
In the last few weeks, many players contacted ACV Sporta for support and to become a new member.
Five teams decided to put their players in temporary unemployment, which means that their players will only receive a very low income during this period, much lower than the income they ought to have.
Due to these measures, some players might end up having financial problems, according to Sebastien Stassin, player representative of ACV Sporta.
Some players have financial obligations they will have difficulties meeting, others now need to pay for the house or car that the club used to pay for them.
“Some clubs have taken these crucial decisions unilaterally. The players were not consulted but they have to suffer the consequences,” Stassin said.
“More and more players are willing to help each other and the union”— by Sebastien Stassin, ACV Sporta player representative
“We are realistic and we know that this crisis will have financial consequences for everybody, but we also think that if we discuss these issues together, players and clubs, that we can come to a much more satisfying solution.”
Since the crisis began in Belgium, the membership of ACV Sporta has grown rapidly. “Between 100 and 150 new players have joined our union in the last couple of weeks,” Stassin said.
“More and more players are willing to help each other and the union.”