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FIFPro presented its Black Book Eastern Europe on Tuesday February 7th. Three members of the Task Force Eastern Europe and FIFPro’s secretary general showed both their delight with the publication as well as their concern.

 

‘It has been a very important day for FIFPro’, said Theo van Seggelen, secretary general of FIFPro. ‘Up until now, everybody just thought that the players in Eastern Europe were treated badly, now we have proof that they are treated badly. We now know the facts.’

 

‘I hope that the other stakeholders in football, and also the national governments and the European Commission understand that the time to take action is now.’

 

Dejan Stefanovic, member of the Task Force Group that did the research, is not surprised by the results. ‘Not really. We know that the numbers are much higher. A large number of players are still afraid to speak openly of their problems. Even though the players knew the survey was anonymous, they refused to bring the horrible things they voiced out in the public.’

 

‘The report shows the gravity of the problems the players in Eastern Europe are facing. These problems need to be addressed now, otherwise the situation could become irreversible.’

 

According to Nikolai Grammatikov, also a member of the Task Force ‘FIFPro took an important step to cleaning up the mess in football. We have violence, harassment, players’ contracts are not respected... We have made a thorough analysis based on the work of our unions in all of these countries.’

 

‘We have a very clear message: enough is enough. The players will not tolerate anymore the behavior of some club managers and some football federations. These things have to change.’

 

Task Force member Tony Higgins concluded: ‘It is important that all players’ unions throughout Europe support their colleagues in Eastern Europe. It is important to bring them up to the standard of Western football and Western Europe.’