The International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPro) through its general secretary, Theo Van Seggelen has issued warnings to professional footballers not sign contracts with clubs in Serbia when their transfer window opens later this month.
The World football players’ union released figures showing that 68 per cent of players plying their trade in Serbia do not receive their salaries on time, while 89 per cent of the players transferred for a fee are pressured into moving.
Surprisingly, the Serbian Football Association dismissed arbitrators from a panel that rules on disputes between clubs and players, giving footballers a less chance of receiving fair treatment.
Under FIFA regulations, the panel known as the National Dispute Resolution Chamber should be made up equally of arbitrators appointed by clubs and players. The SFA, in an unprecedented unilateral decision by its “urgency committee”, has dismissed the arbitrators chosen by the Serbian Players Union and appointed officials with links to the biggest clubs, Red Star and Partizan Belgrade, as the chamber’s chairman and vice-chairman, who typically will have the casting vote in disputes.
The Football Association has increased the fees players must pay to start action against clubs and ordered all cases opened under the previous dispute resolution chamber to start again the new regime.
“This is a violation of the players’ right, in Serbia who are now effectively playing in a lawless environment. We call on the SFA to immediately revert its decision. Until this situation is resolved, we strongly advise players not to go and play football in Serbia,” Van Seggelen said.
Reacting to the situation, Serbian Players Union President, Mirko Poledica said there is 50 per cent chance of ending up in the court when you sign a contract with a club in Serbia
The mid-season transfer window in Serbia opens on January 23 and closes on February 17