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FIFPro is advising football players to check how much of their salary they will receive when injured -- after new research found some get little or nothing.

The investigation by the world players union found that in only four of 27 countries – Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain – are there universally-binding agreements that all footballers must receive their full salary while injured.

Many injured footballers are paid according to national employment laws even though, according to a medical study*, they have an estimated 1,000 times higher risk of injury compared to workers in high-risk industries like manufacturing and construction.

In Germany, Switzerland and Sweden players are only guaranteed their full salary for a few weeks under national legislation; as little as six, three and two weeks, respectively.

In Romania, Ecuador, Japan and Morocco there is no written rule or legislation that says a player must be paid in full when injured. In the Czech Republic, some clubs offer players only 50% of their salary.

In Italy and Scotland, local regulations mean that a football-related injury lasting six months could lead to a player having his contract terminated.

Louis Everard, a FIFPro board member and director of Dutch player union VVCS, said he was shocked by how little protection players have in parts of the world.

“Fair treatment for injured players seems to be a bridge too far in many countries,” Everard said. “Players could easily be one tackle away from not being able to meet their mortgage payments.”

Everard has been advising Dutch football players at home and around the world for more than two decades

“Over the years, I have learned that you need to have everything in writing, otherwise you won’t get anything,” he said. “Players should check their contracts and seek advice when they have doubts.”

In Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain players receive 100% of pay while injured under a collective bargaining agreement between the league, clubs and the national players union.

Everard said he would encourage stakeholders in each country to seek a collective agreement on injury pay.

In England, the standard player contract guarantees players 18 months of full pay – but not the entire contract.

In the U.S., while most players are guaranteed full pay under a collective agreement, some only have the right to be fully paid until the end of the year.

FIFPro’s research is based on email responses to questions by 27 national player unions in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

* Drawer S, Fuller CW (2002) Evaluating the level of injury in English professional football using a risk based assessment process. British Journal of Sports Medicine 36:446-451

Photo credit: Pics United.