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Professional footballers from Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Slovenia and Switzerland will participate in the FIFPro Tournament for Central Europe, on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 July in Nyon, Switzerland. Ninety players try to earn a new contract.


‘We are looking forward to this tournament’, says FIFPro’s Tijs Tummers. He will join the crowd of coaches, scouts and technical directors who are invited to observe the matches at Colovray Stadion - the home of Stade Nyon - during the first edition of the FIFPro Tournament Central Europe. ‘We thank UEFA for their cooperation ', says Tummers. UEFA assisted in providing facilities and the referees for this tournament.


Professional footballers associations from five countries in Central Europe have entered this special competition for players who are currently without a contract: ABF (from Bulgaria), PSAP (Greece), Nezavisnost (Serbia), SPINS (Slovenia) and SAFP (Switzerland).


Tummers: ‘By organizing a special FIFPro Tournament for players in Central Europe, we hope to improve their chances of finding a new club, signing a contract and thus prolonging their careers as professional footballers.’


The tournament hosts, Team SAFP, have been practicing since June 17th under the supervision of coaches Goran Ivelj and Ranko Jakoveljevic. Their goalkeeper Iván Benito is the player with the most experience in the Swiss first division. He played for FC Aarau, Grasshoppers and Young Boys. Team SAFP played two friendly matches. The Swiss team beat FC Dietikon (third division) easily with 4-1 and FC Wettswil/Bonstetten with 3-0, but lost 3-0 against FC Schaffhausen from the second division.


Team Nezavisnost from Serbia was the winner of last year’s three nation tournament with Bulgaria and Greece. This year’s team contains some players with experience at the highest level, like Marjan Markovic and Yaw Antwi. Forward Antwi has played for the national team of Ghana, while team captain Markovic played for Ukrainian top team Dynamo Kiev. Team Nezavisnost played two friendly matches against Russian second division side Yenisei. The Serbian footballers won the first game with 2-0, the Russians got their revenge in the second encounter: 1-5.


The Bulgarian union ABF organized a 10-day training camp in Breznik. Team ABF played one friendly match against PFC Marek, which was won by the club from the second division. Former CSKA and Levski player Rumen Stoyanov is the coach of Team ABF.


Just like the Bulgarian players union, also the Greek players union PASP organized a training camp for their footballers who are without a contract for the fourth consecutive year. This year’s team contains many players who appeared for second division teams. Dimitris Giantsis is the player with the most experience in the Greek premier league. The 25-year old forward played for iraklis and kerkyra and is a former player of Greece U-21.


Team SPINS from Slovenia presents a mixture of experienced and young players. Captain Igor Lazic will make his third appearance at a FIFPro Tournament, while left back Suvad Grabus was one of the better Slovenian players at last year’s FIFPro Tournament in the Netherlands. Stefan Smiljanic was another player who impressed at last year's tournament. He signed at Hannover 96, but only managed to play for the German club’s second team. Team SPINS won two of its three friendly matches.


For more information about the participating players and the match programme, click below.