Imagine this: You’re signed to a football club, you work hard on the pitch, scoring goals and stopping opponents from scoring against your side, and at the end of the day, you don’t get paid – for months! The 2016 International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPro) Global Employment Report shows this is what most African players are going through – with over 40% reported cases of overdue salaries.
And what’s more heartbreaking is that the contracts these players signed won’t let them walk away from their clubs.
Well that was until now, as FIFA has breathed fresh air into the football world by setting a new rule which states players owed salaries for up to two months or mistreated by their clubs can break their contracts and leave. On top of that, the players can seek compensation and clubs which refuse to pay will be subject to transfer bans by FIFA.
Of course, we don’t hear about players being owed salaries in foreign clubs, but it’s extremely common in African leagues. In fact, Gabon has the world’s highest incidence in delayed pay in football leagues. So, it’s expected that this new rule will shake things up for good, especially for African footballers.
However, it remains to be seen if the shake up will be felt at all, considering that almost every African footballer’s dream is to make it to the richer leagues in Europe and, because of that dream, they see the wrong treatment they receive from clubs as ‘necessary sacrifices’ that will open them up to Europe’s seven-figure contracts.
Another valid question is this: How many of these players really signed a written contract?