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If professional football in Colombia is to survive and make significant progress, the clubs must adopt a clear and democratic structure and become financially transparent. That is the view of Carlos González Puche, chairman of Acolfutpro, the Columbian union of professional footballers.

 

In an interview with the magazine Semana, Puche examines the current problems in Colombian professional football. Amongst other things, he mentions the faulty organisational structure: ‘You can’t really call our football clubs professional sports clubs. They are merely associations.’

 

In his opinion, the only exception is Once Caldas, winner of the Copa Libertadores in 2004. He continues: ‘That club has its own stadium and over 2,000 members, who all pay a contribution and can vote in club board elections.’

 

Puche refers to other clubs, which depend on a few large sponsors, so called patrons. ‘It’s not clear where the money has come from and there’s no transparency. Many of these patrons conduct their business and then leave. That leaves the clubs without any money.’

 

‘It is clear that the Colombian government and the national football association are not capable of controlling football,’ says Puche. ‘They’ve drawn up some rules, but they don’t enforce them. Above all, there are no collective rules such as a players statute, single contracts.’ 

 

Puche completely rejects the insinuation that the players’ union is ruining football. ‘That’s nonsense. The only demand which the players’ association makes is that salaries and social security contributions must be paid.’ 

 

Paying salaries and contributions has proved a big problem. In recent weeks, players from América de Cali and Once Caldas (!) have been taking action because their clubs had not paid their salaries and pension contributions for several months. After threatening strike action, all the players received some of their money. However, this campaign proved less successful for Jorge Bermúdez, coach of América. The former World Cup player lost his job because he had supported his players.

 

Click here for the full interview (in Spanish) with Carlos González Puche