FIFPro concerned by exploitation
Global players' union FIFPro have admitted there is still plenty of work to do to prevent the exploitation of children in Africa and South America.
FIFA have tightened up the rules regarding movement of youngsters, in order to try to prevent children being lured away from their homelands with the promise of fame and fortune, only to be dumped when they do not make the grade. Yet huge problems still exist thanks to an insatiable demand for players from Brazil and Argentina, plus the still largely untapped source of African talent.
"Because of the fact football is so popular, it also brings into the football family a lot of problems," said FIFPro general secretary Theo van Seggelen, who has confirmed his organisation is committed to arresting the exploitation.
"We are aware of these problems, especially the exploitation of minors in Africa and South America. As a global union, we have a responsibility to do something about that, and we were the first ones to investigate how serious the problem was.
"FIFA has done a good job working with us to try and protect minors under 18. But there is still a lot of work to do and the responsibility is enormous."
Van Seggelen cites an example from his own country in Holland, where he believes Ajax are inadvertently creating a problem merely by offering children in South Africa the slenderest chance at maximising their potential.
"Ajax have a satellite club in South Africa," he confirmed. "They are trying to get new players and every day they ask 100 kids from the townships to come and train.
"One of them gets the opportunity to train with the club for a week, then maybe they can stay for a month.
"The question I always ask is what happens to the other 99 who are sent away after one day?
"We investigated this. Fifty percent of these kids don't go home within two weeks. They thought they could be a professional, the odds are about 25,000 to one, but their parents do not want to accept they cannot be. It is modern slavery, which we will not accept."
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