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FIFPro Division Europe is creating a Task Force Group Eastern Europe in order to protect professional footballers against abuse such as non-payment, violence, racism and corruption. ‘FIFPro assumes its responsibility, and calls on everyone else involved to do the same.’

 

FIFPro Division Europe decided to create this task force group in response to many incidents that have taken place in Eastern Europe. Recent incidents include the mistreatment of two footballers by the Russian club FC Kuban, violent attacks by Greek football fans against footballers in Greece, and numerous problems with payment of player salaries in countries such as Cyprus, Romania, Serbia, Greece and Russia. The offices of both FIFPro and the national players unions in Eastern Europe are flooded with complaints. Apart from non-payment and violence, there is also racism and corruption (match fixing).

 

‘It is unacceptable that much of the football world is averting its eyes from this abuse in Eastern Europe’, says Philippe Piat, president of FIFPro Division Europe. ‘FIFPro refuses to look away. We assume our responsibility to help players. It is high time that we put an end to this abuse.’

 

The Eastern Europe Task Force Group has 5 objectives:

  1. Speeding up establishment of high quality unions in countries where there is still no professional FIFPro member footballers' union;
  2. Research into problems related to salary payment. The research will try to find out which clubs do not comply with their contractual obligations to footballers, and which clubs put pressure on players to terminate their contract, and, if so, in what way;
  3. Fight match-fixing. Research shows that some criminal organizations in Eastern Europe put objectionable pressure on players to cooperate in bribery scandals. Players appear to be very vulnerable; they run the risk of being suspended, even before they are proved guilty, as occurred in the case of two Debreceni players. Footballers must be able to appeal to their national players' union at all times and get help and advice from the union. The task force group will open a help desk together with the national players unions, allowing unions to give their members appropriate help;
  4. Fighting racism. Players are still regularly the victim of racist incidents, committed either by spectators or clubs. There are very many examples of this including the recent incident with Roberto Carlos, who was insulted during a league game in Russia;
  5. Banning violence against players. FIFPro has noted an alarming increase in violence against footballers, the best publicized examples being the aforementioned scandalous incidents that took place in Russia and Greece.

 

Piat: ‘FIFPro calls on the other major participants in professional football to choose sides in this struggle. There is no doubt that FIFA and UEFA will agree with FIFPro that all their affiliated member associations should guarantee that all professional footballers in their leagues can do their job safely and also get paid for it, this being a legal right of every worker in Europe.’

 

‘FIFA and UEFA have an important responsibility here, especially Eastern European members that sit on the executive committees of both FIFA and UEFA.’ 

 

FIFPro is making the same urgent call to ECA and EPFL, representatives of the clubs and leagues in Europe’, says Piat. ‘They must not tolerate that several big clubs - their members - demonstrate inacceptable conduct. We expect ECA and EPFL to also assume their responsibility in this fight.’

 

The task force will be composed of representatives from both Eastern European players unions and all other European unions. This task force should have mapped out all aforementioned abuse and have come up with an action plan to fight this situation before the end of this calendar year.

 

‘FIFPro already intends to organize a big Eastern European Conference this year’, concludes president Piat. ‘For this purpose, we will invite players from our member unions, as well as players from countries where no professional footballers union has, as yet, been set up and recognized by all parties.’