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FIFPro has demanded the Venezuelan Football Association FVF to improve the working conditions of the professional footballers in their country. The recent tragic death of Carlos De Castro made FIFPro – the World Players' Union – aware that the fundamental rights of players need substantial improvement.

Carlos De Castro died on February 16th in a hospital in Mérida, where the Uruguayan player was receiving medical attention following the highway accident suffered by the whole team of Estudiantes de Mérida on 31 January last, while preparing to play against CD Lara in San Felipe.

After De Castro's untimely passing, FIFPro was informed by the Venezuelan (AUFPV) and the Uruguayan (MUFP) player associations - both members of FIFPro - about the facts and details around this incident. FIFPro was negatively surprised by the situation of De Castro and his team mates at the Venezuelan premier league club.

Many of the players have not been paid for months and are dealing with long lasting outstanding salaries, players are uninsured and don't even have any social security.

FIFPro – in a written letter - urged the FVF to take the following actions:

  • to implement with no delay an insurance for players that suffer lasting injuries or, like in De Castro's case, death while working. This exists in many countries and it is not difficult to implement;
  • to arrange social security for the players. Players are workers and their rights must be respected as such. It is inconceivable that in the year 2015 this has not yet been achieved;
  • to introduce a control mechanism which guarantees that all professional footballers will receive their salaries on time.

FIFPro also addressed De Castro's club, Estudiantes de Mérida, since it did not pay his salaries for over a year. The club still owes more than USD 55,000 to the player. FIFPro urges Estudiantes to make sure that this debt (plus the corresponding interest) is effectively paid to the widow and the two children of the deceased player in the shortest term possible.

Besides that FIFPro expects the club to take good care of De Castro's family, both economically and psychologically. The player was injured severely in the accident that took place while travelling with his team. At that moment he was at work. Unfortunately this accident caused his death. FIFPro requests that the club compensates the De Castro family with the rest value of his contract.

"We expect that the club understands that it also has a moral obligation to help the family of Carlos De Castro – who was the captain of their team", says FIFPro Secretary General Theo van Seggelen. "The club will understand that Carlos De Castro's wife does not deserve to waste her time and energy in going to court in order to enforce her rights. It would be better to let her energies focus on raising her children as single parent."

FIFPro has expressed its deepest sympathy to the widow and children of Carlos De Castro. The world players union has made a special donation from its hardship fund to help the family in this difficult situation. Both the Venezuelan (AUFPV) and the Uruguayan (MUFP) player association have strongly supported the family in the recent weeks and will continue to do so.

Reaction from Juan García, President of the Venezuelan players' association:

"Carlos De Castro was an exemplary human being, a great player, and from my office we shall watch to ensure that all commitments towards him be fulfilled."

"The President of the FVF, Rafael Esquivel, promised me that he would officiate at Estudiantes de Mérida, and this club will have to pay all, absolutely all its debts in not more than 30 days. Otherwise, it will be demoted to the second division."

"He also promised that, starting from the 2015-2016 season no club will be able to sign up or to play if its players do not have a private insurance to cover the cost of hospitalisation, surgery and maternity , valid and corroborated by the AUFPV, and to conclude it was established to form a dispute resolution chamber without delay in the event of players filing complaints. Esquivel also admitted to us that the Council of Honour is too slow in responding."