Asian footballers face an uphill battle for their rights

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By Brian Homewood

BERN, Sept. 29 (Reuters) – Footballers in many parts of Asia face an uphill battle to secure their basic rights and the COVID-19 pandemic has made them particularly vulnerable to pay cuts and layoffs, said Tuesday the world union of FIFPRO actors.

Although footballers’ rights are a concern around the world, the problem is acute in Asia due to the lack of dialogue with federations and clubs, FIFPRO General Secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann said during a conference call.

“The sad reality is that in many parts of Asia the level of engagement and collective bargaining is lacking and this is having a drastic effect,” he said.

Baer-Hoffmann said the situation was particularly dire in Indonesia, where players had seen their salaries cut by 75%.

“It’s a major football market and it has very wealthy team owners who have the capacity to support clubs,” Baer-Hoffmann said. “It’s not just the players who have to make sacrifices.”

Baer-Hoffmann added that while the situation was difficult for foreign players in the country, they at least had access to FIFA’s dispute settlement chamber – unlike local players.

“National actors are experiencing extreme difficulties,” he said. “We have to take care of these players and it’s very, very difficult.”

In June, FIFPRO said some players were working as street vendors, selling ice cream, plates and other food, to help make ends meet after ending up with a salary of $ 50 a month.

FIFPRO only has affiliates in seven of the 47 members of the Asian Football Confederation – Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, India, Qatar, Australia and Malaysia – but even in these countries the situation has not been easy. .

“Even in Japan, we are still struggling to establish an effective dialogue with management,” said Takuya Yamazaki, President of FIFPRO Asia. “In a hierarchical culture, it is difficult to establish an effective dialogue.

“Dialogue is absolutely vital to solving the difficult problems of the pandemic, but (in Asia) we are not used to this concept of effective dialogue with stakeholders.” (Written by Brian Homewood edited by Christian Radnedge)

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