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FIFPro fully supports the professional footballers of Sportul Studentesc, in Romania. FIFPro and the Romanian professional footballers association AFAN are very concerned about the situation of the players and the way they are treated by the club’s owner.

 

In short: the players have not been paid by Sportul for at least ten months, the club does not provide any training or training facilities, and the club falsifies documents such as medical registration forms and payment slips.

 

‘Some football clubs and their presidents think they can do whatever they want, but FIFPro does not tolerate that’, FIFPro Secretary General Theo van Seggelen said during a video conference with a group of Sportul players, who were present at the AFAN office on Monday March 25th. Not all the players were able to attend that conference, because they lack the financial means to pay for their travel expenses.

 

‘FIFPro supports you for the full 100 per cent’, Van Seggelen continued. ‘We will inform UEFA and FIFA about this situation, which is totally unacceptable. They will receive all the information we’ve got.’ Van Seggelen has vowed to address the issue during a meeting with UEFA in Sofia, Bulgaria on March 27. Van Seggelen will send FIFA a written complaint. ‘Knowing UEFA and FIFA, they will not accept this situation, just as FIFPro does not accept it.’

 

Sportul Studentesc is a Liga 2, Seria 1 team (from the second professional level in Romania). Players of this club have not received their salaries for ten up to 24 months. ‘Some of the players had to leave their house, because the club did not pay their salary or rent’, the players said.

 

The club Sportul also fails to organize the training of the players. These professional footballers had to train on their own for the last four months without the club providing technical staff and/or medical assistance and without equipment provided by the club. ‘There is nothing: no coach, no locker room, no balls, no water’, the players told FIFPro. ‘Almost daily, we have sent notifications to the club about this situation, but the club does not respond.’

 

This season, the club also failed to organize a medical examination for the players. The club said it did not have the money for it, even though it is mandatory to have such an examination every six months in Romania. The club falsified the players' registration forms to indicate that they all passed their medical examination.

 

Due to the situation with the medical examinations and because the players wanted to avoid any medical risk, the players refused to play their league match against Farul Constanta on March 9th (the day the Romanian championship resumed after the winter break).

 

The club owner, Vasile Siman, reacted angrily to the refusal of the players. In the hours leading up to the scheduled match, he threatened the players and even their parents at the stadium. He even tried to punch one of the players, but other players prevented this. The owner almost came to blows with some of the players’ parents.

 

Players’ union AFAN is providing legal assistance to the Sportul players, paying for their travel expenses and arranging a training pitch and a coach.

 

‘AFAN’s headquarters have become the place where the players have been almost every day in the last three weeks, staying there for hours to try to find a solution with the help of AFAN specialists and to become free players’, says Emilian Hulubei, Prime Vice President of AFAN. ‘In normal conditions they would have used this time to train.’

 

Hulubei continued: ‘AFAN discovered that many documents that tie the players to the club are fake. Financial documents of the club (such as payment registration) proving to the Romanian Football Federation (FRF) that players were paid have sometimes been falsified. One player who had not been paid for eleven months has even lost his case, because the club had falsified the administration of his payments.’

 

AFAN already complained to the Romanian football federation. ‘The President of our football federation has promised to accelerate the process’, Hulubei explained. Some players have decided to take their case to the Romanian Civil Court.

 

The players are sticking together, although the club owner has tried to divide them. Hulubei: ‘The owner has called each player one by one to say that he is going to solve his problem and promising that he will pay his money. But nobody believes him…’

 

Nevertheless, the players remain professional. Each day they travel to the stadium for practice, even though the club fails to facilitate training. ‘This way, it is impossible to be in good shape’, the players admitted to FIFPro. ‘We want to practice and we want to play. But at our club nobody cares...’