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The situation of Salvador Cabañas is one of many examples of how footballers are being treated by some club owners, says Fernando Barboza, the secretary general of FIFPro Division Americas. ‘It is a disgrace.’


Cabañas is recovering after being shot in the head, last January. The striker from Paraguay is under contract at Club América until August 2012, but the Mexican club has not paid his salary since April. Cabañas and his agent have turned to the Mexican football federation (FMF) for help.


Michel Bauer, president of Club América, reacted by declaring that his club did what it had to do. ‘We went even further than we were obliged to according to the law, to show our solidarity with Salvador and his family.’ Bauer refers to the costs Club América initially made, by paying for Cabañas’ medical treatment. Those payments were also stopped in April.


Fernando Barboza, secretary general of FIFPro Division Americas, is not impressed. ‘The player, Salvador Cabañas, is still under contract and the club, Club América, has to fulfil its obligations’, he says. ‘Cabañas is a victim of an attempted assassination. At this moment in his life he needs all the support he can get, and his club can do nothing else but help him.’


‘I could explain the juridical part of the contract and demonstrate that there is no just cause for the club to not fulfil its obligations with the footballer, but I think it is more interesting to make an example of the situation of Cabañas, in order to demonstrate FIFPro’s importance in defending the rights of all footballers in the world.’


‘Mexico is a country with very powerful club owners who for years have considered the players to be their serfs. Today, in the 21st century, this situation is still unchanged.’


‘Various efforts to establish a players’ union in Mexico have been sabotaged by those club owners, who have threatened footballers, that they would not be signed to a contract by any club if they were to join a players’ association.’


Barboza knows the Mexican  federation has installed a national dispute resolution chamber (NDRC). ‘But there are no representatives of the players in this NDRC, although the FIFA insists that this is mandatory. It is a disgrace!’


‘Once again, the footballer, the main actor of our noble sport, is being treated as an object and not as a human being’, Barboza continues. ‘It is time for FIFA to implement the requests made by FIFPro during the last years. FIFPro demands equal rights and guarantees for all footballers in the world.’