FIFPro bangs drum for its ‘socially aware’ players; not all are millionaires

July 16 – Fans often bemoan the fact that footballers are paid far too much money but the perception that they do not carry out their social responsibilities is misplaced according to the international players’ union FIFPro.

A FIFPro report issued Thursday highlights contributions made by professional players during the Covid-19 pandemic saying a large number have been “generous and creative” during the crisis.

“Professional football players and athletes across sports have developed incredible initiatives around the world to help their communities, their clubs and teams and often their teammates,” said FIFPro general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann.

“The public perception of athletes not living up to their social responsibility could not be more wrong.”

Examples listed include AS Monaco forward Keita Balde, who helped 200 Senegalese workers based in Spain after they lost their jobs, and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford who managed to persuade the British government to change its mind about ending a school meals scheme.

The report pointed out that life for a majority of footballers outside the elite leagues is “frequently uncertain and highly competitive.”

It said that in men’s football, more than 45% of players earn less than $1,000 a month, 41% receive late pay and in most cases have short contracts. In women’s football, the majority of players earn less than $600 a month.

“The belief that footballers live carefree and wealthy lives has led supporters and the general public to have high expectations when it comes to players’ shared responsibility towards fighting the virus,” it said.

“But many players during this time have even relied on food parcels and financial support packages to survive.”

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