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Dare Vrsic calls it the biggest disaster of his life. The Slovenian attacking midfielder thought he had taken a great step joining Politehnica Timisoara, but his time at the Romanian club turned out otherwise.

 

He is currently fighting at the FIFA DRC to receive back pay, while a Romanian arbitration committee has ruled that he should pay €1.59 million to Politehnica Timisoara.

 

Dare Vrsic is now playing at Olimpija Ljubljana. Last Saturday the midfielder scored, helping his team beat Nova Gorica (2-3) and tightening their grasp on second place. ‘I am having a great season’, Vrsic told FIFPro. ‘I have scored 21 times in 30 league matches.’ He is the nation’s top goal scorer, quite unique given the fact that he is playing as a midfielder. ‘The team is very good; they have helped me a lot. I could not have done it without them. One of the major reasons that I am scoring this much is that I haven’t been injured at all this season.’

 

Dare Vrsic returned to Slovenia in January 2011 where he signed a two-year contract with Olimpia Ljubljana. The last time Vrsic had signed a contract was in 2007, when he agreed to join Politehnica Timisoara for three years, starting on July 1st. However, his stay in Romania proved to be a very unpleasant experience.

 

‘It was a three-year contract. I would earn an annual salary of €200,000. The contract also included a unilateral option for the club to extend my contract for two years. But it was just an option, nothing was specified, no salaries or bonuses were defined for the two optional years.’

 

Before the option could come into play, Vrsic was unlucky on the pitch. In September 2007, after just a couple of months at his new club, the left-footed midfielder broke his right leg. ‘I was operated on in Romania, but it was not successful. Later I had another operation in Austria, which went okay. I did not play for almost two years. ’

 

In the early months of the 2009/2010 season, when Vrsic was trying to make his comeback, the club sent him a letter. ‘They told me that I would only receive 50 percent of my monthly salary, for sporting reasons. Starting in October 2009, I received 50% of my salary for three months. And the following three months I received nothing at all… In total the club still owes me about €100,000.’

 

Nevertheless, the club still wanted to keep Vrsic. As his three-year contract was coming to an end, talks concerning the two-year option started with Politehnica Timisoara directors.

 

Then Vrsic made a mistake. During negotiations, club management gained his trust. They promised that he would receive his back pay and that he would keep the same annual salary for the two years mentioned in the option. Vrsic then signed a blank contract, which contained no specified salary or bonuses. He trusted the club to complete it according to the verbal agreement they had just reached.

 

‘I signed this document, so I could go on loan to FC Koper in January 2010.’ Vrsic wanted to return to Slovenia in order to regain his self-confidence after his injury. He stayed there for half a year.

 

Politehnica Timisoara did not keep its word. ‘When I returned to Romania in July 2010, they told me that I would not get paid for my fourth and fifth year.’

 

Vrsic was stunned, disappointed and angry. He tried to contact the owner who had broken his word but he did not answer the player's calls.

 

Vrsic wanted to stay at Politehnica Timisoara, but only on the same terms as in the previous three years. The club apparently did not. They wanted him to agree to a lower salary.

 

‘In July 2010, I started preparing for the new season. I still expected that everything would work out alright. But every day the sports director told me that if I didn't sign a contract extension for two years at €7,000 a month, I would be banned from the squad and forced to train alone.’

 

Vrsic did not give in and refused to sign the extension. ‘I told them that €7,000 was not enough, I could earn the same amount of money back home in Slovenia. In the first three years in Romania I earned €17,000 a month.’

 

‘The club forced me to train alone starting on July 27th. I called Mr Dejan Stefanovic from the Slovenian players’ union SPINS, whom I had heard about. Together we wrote an official letter to the club, explaining that I wanted to stay at the club but only for €200,000 a year. We explained that the previous extension that I had signed was not valid.’

 

‘The club did not reply. Several days later I returned to Slovenia.’ Vrsic had decided to end his contract with just cause, calling on FIFA Regulations, since he had not been paid for more than three months. Vrsic also sent his case to the FIFA DRC, in order to receive the back pay he is still owed.

 

His return home saw the start of another tough period for Vrsic. ‘At home, I trained on my own for months. I had to wait for days, weeks, months. No club wanted to sign me. I received offers from more than 10 clubs from Sweden, Germany, Poland, Greece, Italy, but when they heard my story, they did not dare to sign me. They were afraid that they would get into trouble with Politehnica Timisoara and would have to pay the club compensation.’

 

‘It was a very difficult time for me, the biggest disaster in my life. I had gone through three bad years in Romania and found out that nobody wanted to help me after my injury. I wanted to end my career, I thought about becoming a coach...’

 

 

Then Olimpija Ljubljana came around. ‘I was lucky. With help from Dejan Stefanovic, I signed a contract at Olimpija Ljubljana on 25th January 2011. Dejan had explained what happened to the president and the technical director. They understood my situation. Dejan also helped me get my international clearance through FIFA.’

 

Vrsic had still not heard the last of Politehnica Timisoara. ‘This season, I received a letter from Romania. The Romanian Football Federation arbitration committee had ruled that I was still under contract to Politehnica Timisoara. It ordered me to pay the club €1.59 million.’ The arbitration committee is made up exclusively of club representatives…

 

Vrsic will not pay the club. The extension he signed with Politehnica did not meet FIFA Regulations, so he has nothing to fear from this enormous ‘compensation’ claim. On the contrary, Vrsic is waiting for the FIFA DRC to force the Romanian club to clear its debt with him.

 

This season in Slovenia, playing for Olimpija, Vrsic has regained his love for playing football. He is excelling in the league as one of its best players. He has also made it back on to the national team (12 caps, 3 goals). Still, Vrsic is hoping for a new adventure abroad. ‘I want to go, but never to Romania again. I only want to go to countries where football is better organized. Countries like England, Germany, Austria, or maybe Poland. I will never go to Romania again.’