FIFPro report dispels myth of footballer luxury lifestyles


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World Players’ Union, FIFPro, have released the findings of its first worldwide survey of working conditions in men’s professional football.

The 2016 FIFPro Global Employment Report looks at the life of players with the aim of raising awareness of the realities faced by footballers globally.

The report uncovers the conditions of those players who are not among the elite at the top end of the sport.

Independently assessed by the University of Manchester in the UK, the survey is based on feedback from nearly 14,000 current players in 54 countries and 87 leagues in Europe, the Americas and Africa.

It is believed to be the world’s largest survey of professional athletes in any sport using direct participant data.*

The FIFPro Global Employment Report invited players to respond to 23 questions, covering topics such as salaries, contracts, transfers, training, match-fixing, violence, job security, health, well-being and education.

The survey shows most players have short and fragile careers, experience irregular pay, have uncertain futures and are often not prepared for life after football.

They also found the average contract length is just under two years with footballers working in a highly competitive and fragmented market.

The survey debunks the myth that players enjoy a highly privileged lifestyle.

More than 45% surveyed earn less than $1000 (USD) a month. The median net monthly salary worldwide ranges between $1000 and $2000 (USD).

It is only at the very top of the game that players are rewarded handsomely: just 2% of players received $720,000 (USD) or more per annum in take-home pay.

Among the key findings, 41% of players globally reported that they did not receive their salary on time on at least one occasion in the past two seasons,

with the most common delays ranging from one to three months.

The survey also found that more than 700 players (6% of those surveyed) have come under pressure to either rescind or renew their contract by being separated from their teammates and ordered to train alone.

While FIFPro has been aware of this pressure tactic for years, it is the first time it has been able to quantify the scale of the problem.

In another example of unjustified treatment, 29% of players who moved for a transfer fee said they were either put under pressure to join another club or did not go to the team they wanted to.

Almost 7% of players reported they had personally experienced direct approaches to fix matches over the course of their career, with that figure rising to 11% for players in their thirties.

Players in lower wage brackets, and those paid late, were more likely to be offered bribes to fix matches.

“This report for the first time provides a detailed and accurate picture of what the average professional player experiences," FIFPro General-Secretary Theo Van Seggelen said.

"We now have an evidence base for the reforms that are needed in the football industry. Overdue payables, forced transfers and training alone – all this must be a thing of the past.

“We need to build a package of measures with all stakeholders. Clubs, leagues, confederations and FIFA must accept those failures of our industry. “We need to guarantee minimum employment standards for all players and clubs in all countries, reform the international regulations and think about the economic future of football.

“The new FIFA president announced that he wanted to work with the professional game to bring about much needed reform. This report must be the starting point.”
Credit: FCbusiness.

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