Footballers have been advised against joining two clubs in Malta’s 12-team Premier League after evidence emerged of poor treatment of foreign players, including youngsters from Nigeria and the United States.
FIFPro, the World Footballers’ Association, said in a statement that players who recently signed contracts with Mosta FC and Pembroke Athleta were “housed in cramped conditions, and were ignored or even threatened when they complained about not getting paid on time”.
FIFPro said dozens of young players from outside the European Union had signed contracts with clubs in Malta, where they can field seven foreign players per match, with a view to launching a career in Europe and because it is relatively easy to secure a working visa.
“However, most players on the Mediterranean island earn less than $2,000 per month and, according to the recently-released 2016 FIFPro Global Employment Report, 79% are not paid on time. Almost half (49%) are not satisfied with medical support,” FIFPro said.
The body quoted an American teenager at Pembroke who claimed his complaints about not receiving his salary of 700 euros per month on time were ignored.
FIFPro said it had also spoken to several Nigerians who said they were among 15 foreign players squeezed into a four-bedroom house after signing to play for Mosta. Some complained of the cold because the home had no central heating.
“They can bring African players at any time, they just get rid of the old ones,” one of the Nigerians said. “Nigerian players are better off in Africa.”