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Ten European player unions have organised training camps and friendly matches against other unions to help players without a contract regain fitness and, most importantly, find a new club.

The purpose of these camps is to give unemployed players the opportunity to train in a professional football environment, completed with coaching staff and medical assistance. The unions also organise friendly matches against professional clubs for the players to show they are in good shape.

Below is an overview of recent matches which have taken place in Europe.

Czech Tournament

Near Prague, four union teams played a tournament: CFAH (Czech Republic, PZP (Poland), SJPF (Portugal) and AFE (Spain).

Team AFE, from Spain, enjoyed sweet revenge, as it defeated the Czech team in the final. Last year they met in the final of the FIFPro Tournament, with the Czechs winning on penalties after a dramatic late equalizer forced a shoot-out.

This time, AFE returned the favour. The Czechs had taken the lead thanks to Martin Sus’ long range free-kick in the 23th minute. However, just three minutes from full-time, Spain equalised through Carlos Tomas. Goalkeeper Victor Ibanez proved decisive in the penalty shoout-out as Team AFE claimed the title.

Czech scorer Martin Sus said he enjoyed the initiative from his local union, “This is a great project. Each professional footballer who is out of contract should take advantage of it.”

The players of Team AFE wore black armbands to commemorate their countryman Fran Carles. The 26-year old captain of Linares passed away last Friday.

Results:

Spain-Poland 5-0
Czech Republic-Portugal 1-0

Poland-Portugal 2-1
Final: Spain-Czech Republic 1-1, Spain wins after penalties

2016 Spain wins 640

Austria Tournament

Austria (VdF), Germany (VDV), Hungary (HLSZ) and Switzerland (SAFP) met each other in Drassburg, Austria. This event was also decided on penalties as Germany and Austria finished scoreless after 90 minutes. In the end, it was Tom Merkens who converted the deciding penalty kick.

German captain Moritz Volz (ex Fulham, Arsenal, 1860 München) underlined the value of the tournament. ”For the players these training camps and tournament are very important. They give us the possibility to prepare ourselves in a professional manner for the upcoming season. By doing so, we are immediately ready to join a team.”

Results:

Germany-Hungary 4-0
Austria-Switzerland 5-2

Switzerland-Hungary 4-0
Final: Germany-Austria 0-0, Germany wins after penalties

Germany Hungary 640

Germany beats Hungary

Bulgaria and Romania

The player unions of Bulgaria (ABF) and Romania (AFAN) organised friendly matches in each country. On both occasions, Team AFAN won 2-0.

Vlad Alin Bujor and Claudiu Aioanei scored in the first match in Sofia, while Ionut Florea and Danut Iancu found the back of the net in the return clash in Bucharest.

Bul Rom 640