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FIFPro Secretary General Theo van Seggelen and national team captain Kairat Nurdauletov advised all professional footballers in Kazakhstan to unite and become a member of the national players union, Pro Football Kazakhstan.

Van Seggelen highlighted the importance of Kazakh players showing strength in organised numbers during a visit, Wednesday (March 27) to the head office of Pro Football Kazakhstan, the professional footballers association, in the nation's capital of Astana. He had a meeting with among others Aigerim Sabralieva (Executive Director), Maksim Zhalmagambetov (former national team player, highly involved with the players union) and national team captain Kairat Nurdauletov (currently FK Astana, 2012 Player of the Year).

They discussed the current status of all professional footballers in Kazakhstan, which is a UEFA member. Van Seggelen was informed about the problems concerning respect of players contracts, non-payment of salaries, lack of proper independent arbitration, a disproportionate financial sanctioning system, and the increased amounts of foreign players who have been brought to the country by agents and which has led to a vast reduction in opportunities for local players.

"To improve and protect the rights of the players in Kazakhstan, some things need to change urgently", recommended Van Seggelen. "The Minimum Requirements need to be implemented to guarantee that each contract meets the same minimum standards. Contracts must be respected, players need to be paid on time and a proper arbitration system must be established."

Van Seggelen was impressed by the appeals made by both Kairat Nurdauletov and Maksim Zhalmagambetov, as Kazakhstan is not known for its respect of labour organization.

"I remember", Van Seggelen continued, " that in 2011, when FIFPro was in the midst of its research for the Black Book Eastern Europe, the football federation of Kazakhstan (KFF) ordered all clubs to disturb the process and to not allow their players to participate. I can remember that Secretary General Sayan Khamitzhanov even said that FIFPro did not exist. We had to organize secret meetings to give the players the possibility to fill in the questionnaires. Nevertheless, an impressive number of 220 players did not shy away from the pressure of the KFF and clubs and participated."

"I have the utmost respect for Maksim and Kairat, to publicly appeal to all their colleagues in Kazakhstan and to invite them to join the union. The players must unite, in order to protect their fundamental rights."


Maksim Zhalmagambetov and Kairat Nurdauletov