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FIFPro is astonished that Schalke 04 coach Felix Magath has successfully urged young Julian Draxler to drop out of highschool in order to focus solely on his career as a professional footballer.


Draxler is one of Schalke’s brightest talents. The 17-year old midfielder recently helped his club progress to the semi finals of the German Cup (DFB Pokal) by scoring a winner in extra time against 1. FC Nürnberg. His coach, Felix Magath praised him. ‘I’m convinced he will have a great career.’


Magath also advised Draxler to quit highschool. The youngster has not returned to his school since the recent Christmas holidays and is not planning to return. Magath approves: ‘Julian was a great student and surely would have graduated. But in 15 or 20 years, when his career is over, he will not need a highschool diploma anymore.’ 


'I am astonished at the remarks of Magath’, reacts Tony Higgins, FIFPro’s Education Officer. ‘All progressive thinking in modern football is about encouraging players - and particularly young players - to continue in education. Not only does it prepare footballers for their next career after football, but it gives them the skills and confidence to deal with life as a professional footballer.’


Higgins, a former professional footballer himself, has been around in professional football long enough. ‘Who knows what lies ahead for young Julian Draxler? A loss of form, an injury? 'A player is only one tackle away from retirement' is a quote that is often used in the UK in an effort to get players to think about their lives after professional football be they eighteen or thirty five years old.’


‘Hopefully young Julian goes on to become a great player to justify the faith Felix Magath has in him. But equally if he becomes successful and continues in education he would be an excellent role model for other aspiring young professionals. Many athletes in other sports have dual careers; why can't footballers?’


‘FIFPro and its member unions see education as an important part of a player's development  and so do many clubs: maybe Mr Magath should be going to school!'


The German professional footballers association VdV sent out a warning. The union's managing director Ulf Baranowsky told Reuters that the sport may offer financial rewards but the pitfalls are many. ‘It is questionable if you can do without education just because you are a professional football player. More than 20 percent of players, maybe even more, will face financial problems at the end of their careers. Only the top 10 percent are secure, those are the ones playing for the national team and in European competitions.’