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FIFPro is warning footballers about the dangers of being scammed by criminals posing as player agents on LinkedIn.

Several players have informed FIFPro about their experiences with a person calling himself Steve Mac Hughes who they say deceived them by promising trials or contracts at clubs in the United Kingdom and Asia, including Bangor City (Wales) and Dunfermline Athletic (Scotland).

Their stories are similar. This person approached them via LinkedIn, said that a club was interested and that he would arrange a trial or a contract if the player first signed with him and paid a fee. None of the players spoke with or saw the person, all communication went through LinkedIn and Whatsapp. After they sent the money through a Western Union account, the person broke of all contact.

FIFPro has informed Western Union, which said it will investigate if players inform them about the fraud.

FIFPo is asking other players with similar experiences to contact us via info@fifpro.org.

If you have questions or doubts about a transfer or trial, please contact your local player union or FIFPro for advice.

“Steve Mac Hughes” appears to be one of various persons pretending to be agents on social networks often using fake profiles. He wrote in his cv that he worked for among others Liverpool and Thai club Suphanburi, but both clubs said they never employed a person with that name.

 

FIFPro below publishes the stories of some of the players anonymously.

Sierra Leone player:

“He wrote me Bangor was looking for a player in my position. It all seemed very realistic. He needed money to arrange my accommodation. I paid. When I arrived at Manchester Airport, nobody picked me up and he did not answer my calls. He sent me a text message telling me that I had to wait. I slept in a hostel, but returned to Belgium the next day. I was so angry, because it was difficult getting the money to travel to England. People like him take advantage of players desperate to sign a contract.”

Australian player:

“I paid two fees: one to have trials whenever I would be without a club throughout my career, and a second to get a contract with the club. Before going to the Asian country, I asked for the contract on several occasions. He kept on telling me that the club would send it any time and then urged me to go there as quickly as possible because the club needed me. When I arrived there, the club said that the only thing arranged was a trial. There was no contract. He did not give me a refund.”

South African player:

“He contacted me via LinkedIn and asked me for my CV and video. He said Dunfermline was interested and he would help me get to the club. I only had to sign up with him and pay a fee. I went in blindly and paid him. He said the club would send the papers soon. Then he blocked me on WhatsApp. I sent him a message on LinkedIn that he was breaching the contract and had to give me back my money. He hasn’t responded.”

Dutch player:

“He asked me to send me my CV. When I did, he told me he had a club for me. But first I had to sign a contract and pay a 500 euro fee. When he told me that, I knew this would lead to nothing, as I have experience playing in different countries. You must never pay an agent before signing a contract.”