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Vladimir Radivojevic’s story shows why FIFPro is seriously concerned about the situation of professional football players in Serbia. FIFPro takes this matter extremely seriously. A club that misbehaves like Mladost Lucani has no place in European professional football.

 

FIFPro demands that UEFA and FIFA should insist that the Serbian football association (FAS) intervene and punish the club for this misconduct. ‘This is a new low in abusing the rights of players’, says Theo van Seggelen, secretary general of FIFPro.

 

In professional football, considerable attention is paid to the stability of contracts. The rules state that club and player should respect the football contract. For the first years of the contract, FIFA rules stipulate an extra sanction: a player who violates his contract is subject to a suspension, and a club that does not adhere to the contract is prohibited from engaging new players.

 

But things work differently in practice, is the experience of FIFPro and the affiliated players unions. If a player indicates that he wishes to honour his contract and to fulfil it without accepting the new proposal from the club, then a club often retaliates with punitive measures. Not selecting the player to play in matches any more is one of these. Another more serious variant is to have the player train at impossible times.

 

This is what is now happening to Vladimir Radivojevic: after rejecting the new contract proposed by his club Mlodast Lucani, he was evicted from his hotel, he is no longer given any meals by the club, and his coach is forcing him to train at 7.15 am and 11.45 pm.

 

‘It is obvious that this is a case of bullying and harassment to get the player to agree to the proposed contract’, explains Van Seggelen. ‘The methods employed are unfair and clearly in violation of European directives that prohibit such behaviour. FIFPro views these methods as a new low in what football clubs are capable of doing.’

 

Van Seggelen: ‘FIFPro wants to emphasise again that professional football clubs are employers, who have to act properly towards their employees, just like other employers. If they do not show this decency, then we have to conclude that such a club does not belong in professional football, either in Europe or anywhere else in the world. FIFPro calls on this club and all other clubs to refrain from this sort of monstrous behaviour!’