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The fourth edition of the FIFPro Winter Tournament for unemployed professional footballers brings together host nation Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Republic of Ireland on Thursday, January 9, in Oslo.

A collection of players who have graced some of Europe’s top leagues will be out to impress over one day of intense action. The Republic of Ireland and Finland will open the tournament followed by Norway’s clash with Sweden, with the winners advancing to the final.

Match schedule:

1030 hrsIreland-Finland Finland(click for players' details)
1200 hrsNorway-Sweden Ireland(click for players' details)
1430 hrs Third place match Norway(click for players' details)
1600 hrsFinal Sweden(click for players' details)


The event is designed to help recently unemployed professionals find new clubs as part of an ongoing FIFPro initiative, first established in 2005. Over the past nine years, it has grown to include four tournaments annually, three of which cover Europe, while the other takes FIFPro to South America for what will be a battle between six-nations, in Santiago, Chile, on January 16-17.

On Thursday, club scouts will assemble at Oslo’s Vallhall Arena to run the rule over potential recruits as various countries in northern Europe prepare for the new season. The domestic leagues of all four participating nation are scheduled to start in the coming months. Elsewhere, it is the midway point of the season as clubs look to make minor adjustments to their squads during the January transfer window.

FIFPro’s Director of Player Services, Tijs Tummers, said, “Many would feel lost without a platform like this to continue their career.”

“For scouts, depending on their needs, this tournament is a shop window for players who may have slipped through the cracks. All have been playing professionally last season. All can do a job. It’s about finding the right fit.”

“FIFPro is working hard to protect the welfare of professional footballers. We also emphasise education to help players prepare for the inevitable, a life after football, but if they’re still good enough to play professionally, this is the event to prove it.”

“The concept is growing and results show job placement is on the rise too as the international football community comes to realise what these tournaments offer.”

The final week of preparations for the four-team FIFPro Tournament is not without its challenges.The Republic of Ireland issued an SOS to former Manchester United goalkeeper, Joe Coll, as a replacement for the injured Gabriel Sava.

Messages of support have appeared during the build up from players who have directly benefited from the FIFPro Tournament experience. Irishman Craig Walsh said, “Good luck to all the lads heading to Norway. Great tournament to play in. Helped me loads last season.”

FIFPro, in its unwavering mission to support and protect the welfare of an estimated 65 thousand professional footballers worldwide, wishes all participating players the best of luck in their quest to find new clubs.

FIFPro extended a special guest-player invitation to Zahir Belounis, the French-Algerian footballer who is finally free after a drawn-out saga which saw him trapped in Qatar. He has decided to not to take part while he continues to recover, back home in Paris, from the shocking ordeal which attracted worldwide attention.

Speaking on behalf of Zahir Belounis, his brother, Mahdi, told FIFPro, “He doesn’t feel well enough to play football. He still needs some rest. Zahir would like to warmly thank FIFPro for this invitation and their commitment to help unemployed professionals find clubs.”

For more information and media enquiries, please contact: FIFPro Communications Department +31 23 5546970