Football: Fifa should share TV money to help players, says union

LISBON (REUTERS) - Fifa and Uefa should share their fast-growing television revenue with players' unions to help protect footballers who struggle when clubs fall on hard times, FIFPro board member Joaquim Evangelista said on Monday.

Evangelista, also head of the Portuguese Professional Footballers Association, said he would urge fellow board members at world players' union FIFPro to support his call for action at the general assembly in the Netherlands later on Monday.

"Fifa and Uefa should stop the rhetoric and support players concretely," he told Reuters in an interview.

"We deal with the biggest problems in football: human dramas. So those who benefit the most from players (Fifa and Uefa) should also show solidarity," added Evangelista, referring to the ruling bodies of world and European soccer.

The Portuguese Footballers Association has been flooded with requests from players under financial and legal strain over the last year and Evangelista said resources needed to be directed to the players rather than just clubs and football federations.

"A percentage of TV rights revenues should go to help players through the unions," he said.

The sale of broadcasting rights for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil has generated an estimated US$437 million (S$554 million) while this year's Fifa Confederations Cup has beaten television audience records.

"I like (Real Madrid and Portugal winger) Cristiano Ronaldo very much and he is my friend but my job and that of other FIFPro unions is to stand by those who need us the most," Evangelista said.

Despite millions of euros being spent in transfers and salaries at the top clubs, soccer in recession-hit Portugal has been plagued by wage delays and clubs' financial woes, partly due to poor management.

Evangelista said Fifa cannot do without the daily work of the unions.

"We have to answer to human dramas every day. Fifa should help us cater for the most dramatic cases or support some specific programmes like our summer training camps for out-of-contract players," he added.

FIFPro is the worldwide organisation for all professional players, representing more than 50,000 footballers.

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