Europe's legions of
professional footballers, only a few of whom share the luxury
lifestyle of fast cars and mansions enjoyed by the biggest
names, have won an agreement setting out minimum standards for
contracts across the continent.
The agreement was signed under the supervision of the
European Union on Thursday by representatives from the world
players' union FIFPro, European football's governing body UEFA,
the professional leagues' association and ECA, which represents
"Protecting the players has been a key priority for me since
I became president of UEFA," said UEFA president Michel Platini
in a statement.
"It is a pleasure to have the European football family
united around the same table, speaking with a united voice. We
got here through a lot of work, good faith and mutual trust."
Under the agreement, contracts must be in writing, they must
define the rights and duties of club and player and address
matters such as salary, health insurance, social security or
paid leave, FIFPro said.
They must also refer to the duty of players to participate
in training, to maintain a healthy lifestyle and comply with
"It took more time than we could have imagined. But the main
thing is that we did it," said Philippe Piat, president of
FIFPro's European division.
"This is good for the game, for the clubs and of course, it
is also good for the players. This agreement will see to it that
their rights will be better protected."
FIFPro say that the vast majority of professional players
are ordinary wage-earners who face the added difficulty of
having to start all over again in a new career when they hang up
For example, the average wage in the Dutch second division
is around 40,000 euros.
FIFPro have been especially worried about conditions in
Eastern Europe, where they say players are often paid under the
table, sometimes exploited and even threatened with violence by
Earlier this year, FIFPro launched a so-called Black Book,
listing the worst cases of player abuse in the region.
"I am really delighted that an agreement was reached, as its
outcome can only be beneficial to European football," said ECA
president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
"The introduction of minimum requirements for standard
player contracts is a necessary and indispensable measure for
the development and well-being of our game.
"The minimum requirements will increase the quality of
professional contracts across Europe and will lead to increased
trust between clubs and players."
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