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The Austrian professional footballers’ association VdF will take FC Red Bull Salzburg to court in order to defend the rights of Joaquin Boghossian and Leonardo. FIFPro fully supports the steps made by the VdF.


In September, reigning Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg decided to ban five players from training with its first team squad until they had found a new club. According to sporting director Ralf Rangnick it made no sense to have a 30-men squad.


Of these five players - Brazilian players Douglas, Cristiano and Leonardo, Swede Rasmus Lindgren and Uruguayan Joaquín Boghossian – only Rasmus Lindgren managed to terminate his contract with mutual consent. The other players are still under contract at Red Bull Salzburg. Leonardo is currently under medical treatment due to the club’s behavior.


The VdF has studied the players’ contracts. The union noticed a clause in these contracts stipulating that the players can be denied the right to train with the first team squad. That clause is a clear violation of the provisions in the collective bargaining agreement the VdF has signed with the Austrian clubs. According to the CBA, the players have the legal right to train with the first team squad.


On behalf of Joaquin Boghossian and Leonardo, the VdF has filed a lawsuit against Red Bull Salzburg’s management. Simultaneously the VdF has lodged a complaint at the Ethics Committee of the Austrian Bundesliga.


General manager Rudy Novotny explains: ‘The actions by Red Bull Salzburg are solely aimed at putting psychological pressure on the players in order to make them terminate their contract with the club. We reject this behavior with the strongest possible terms. This sort of behavior was previously mostly found in East European countries.’


FIFPro lawyer Wil van Megen agrees with Novotny: ‘The club is sacrificing the careers and the lives of these professional footballers due to the club’s own incapability to run a professional football club. It is not the players’ fault, that Red Bull Salzburg has 30 players under contract. All players only signed a contract knowing that they would be part of the first team squad.’


‘FIFPro fully agrees with the VdF: clubs such as Red Bull Salzburg must realize that footballers are human beings and not machines that you can throw away when you don’t like them.’