UEFA has promised action to
try and stamp out abuse of professional footballers in Eastern
Europe, according to world players' union FIFPro.
FIFPro, who last month unveiled a so-called 'black book'
detailing cases of players being mistreated in the region, said
an agreement to tackle the problem was signed on Thursday by
European football's ruling body UEFA at its annual Congress.
"In the coming three years FIFPro and UEFA will collaborate
closely to tackle matters such as the non-payment of players'
salaries and to guarantee players' contracts are respected,"
said FIFPro in a statement.
"FIFPro and UEFA will also address other urgent problems
such as match-fixing, violence towards players, racism and
FIFPro has often complained that players in Eastern Europe
are subject to threats, violence and non-payment of salaries as
well as being invited to take under the counter payments.
In one of last year's most notorious cases former Montenegro
international Nikola Nikezic said he was forced to end his
contract with Russian Premier League club Kuban Krasnodar after
being beaten up and threatened with a gun.
In November, Krasnodar striker Spartak Gogniyev had his ribs
and nose broken during a match at Terek Grozny when he was
attacked in the tunnel by men wearing police and Terek uniforms.
FIFPro were infuriated when Gogniyev received a six-match
In the same month, players of Croatian first division FC
Karlovac boycotted a match against FC Rijeka because they said
they had not been paid for seven months.
"This is a good step on the road to better working
conditions for professional footballers in Eastern Europe and
naturally also for the rest of Europe," said Philippe Piat,
president of FIFPro's European division.
"We're not there yet but we have taken the first step. We
are pleased UEFA and all affiliated football federations now
finally acknowledge the problems that we described in the Black
Book Eastern Europe.
"We are fully confident we will be successful in tackling
this very urgent problem in the coming years," added Piat. "We
will have to be patient, for the solution to these issues
naturally requires time."
UEFA President Michel Platini mentioned the problem during
his address to Congress.
"In some countries players sign or terminate contracts under
pressure or threats. This cannot be tolerated. We must do more
to protect the players, without whom there would be no
football," he said.
"Violence, match-fixing, illegal betting, doping, pressures
and threats against players, flouting contracts, trafficking of
young players, money laundering - these scourges exist.
"They exist in society and they exist in football. It is up
to us to fight them, with the help of the public authorities.
Let us protect the players, let us protect the game, let us
clean up football," added Platini.
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