Football: Fifpro warns players of 'widespread' contract violations in 7 nations

Chongqing Liangjiang Athletic was the latest team to collapse due to rising debts in May. PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Global football players union Fifpro has warned footballers about the risks of signing for clubs in China, Turkey, Greece and several other countries due to "systematic and widespread contractual violations".

China's football association said in April clubs who failed to settle all outstanding wages by Dec 31 would be relegated or expelled, with Chongqing Liangjiang Athletic the latest team to collapse due to rising debts.

Chongqing players had shared an open letter on social media in May saying they had not been paid.

Fifpro said non-payment of salaries was also a recurring problem for players in Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Romania and Turkey while second-division clubs in Greece often cease operations without honouring debts.

Research published by Greece's players union (PSAP) in December showed clubs in the country owed more than €25 million euros (S$35.9 million) in unpaid wages.

"The elevated number of clubs in Romania that enter into insolvency procedures continues to have severe consequences for players, pushing them into never-ending insolvency procedures with little to no chance of getting any compensation," it added.

"For the past two years, Greece has been the country with the highest number of players seeking to get some of their unpaid wages from the Fifa Player Protection Fund."

World governing body Fifa teamed up with Fifpro in 2020 to set up the fund to provide compensation for players when their clubs fall into financial difficulties or go out of business, with US$4 million (S$5.6 million) set aside this year.

Fifpro also said it was concerned about the increasing number of foreign players stranded in Libya as clubs that employ them "refuse to provide the relevant documentation to leave".

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