Football and modern slavery ? - Xtratime Community
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old November 4th, 2006, 07:43 Thread Starter
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Football and modern slavery ?

Ok, Shamelessly and badly translated from

Le monde du football s'inquite du trafic des jeunes Africains (Le Monde)

Enticed by the promise of a better future, numbers young African footballers embark for Europe with the hope to obtain a professional contract there. But, for a Didier Drogba or Samuel Eto' O, how much kids find themselves in precarious situations, without club, papers and cut from their family?

The FIFA wishes "Won in Africa with Africa"

In the perspect of the preparations of the World cup 2010, in South Africa, the international Federation of football (FIFA) launched a program baptized "Won in Africa with Africa".

Presented like a project intended to stop the exodus of the young African footballers, the program shows the ambition to structure football of the area by creating national leagues on the whole continent, by building new grounds in synthetic grass, by training local leaders or by developing the medicine of the sport. Supported by the foundations of Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton, the African Union and the main sponsors of the FIFA, the program is equipped with a budget of 70 million dollars over the period 2007-2010.

According to Jean-Claude Mbvoumin, former international Cameronian and president of the association Culture foot solidaire, which has worked for six years to help these shipwrecked men of the football eldorado , they are thousands to fail each year in France (Le Monde of January 21th) . To challenge the institutions of football and the authorities on this question, this association has organized, Thursday November 2, at Enghien-les-Bains, the first international Conference of the young African footballer.

"I want to launch a call with the clubs of L1, L2 and Nationale: there is an extremely serious problem, proclaimed Robert Beroud, teaching person in charge for the center of training of the Olympique Lyonnais. We are rather regularly in front of traffickers who try to sell to us like goods, children of 13-14 years old."
The European Union of football (UEFA) also recognizes that there is a "problem".
Councillor of executive committee of the UEFA, Henri Roemer, precise that these "traffics" also relate to children originating from the Latin America area and East europeans countries. For Mr. Roemer, the persons in charge for this "modern slavery" are somes "so-called agents" and the answer must be from police and also political.
The UEFA refers to one independent study on football in Europe financed by the European Union. Presented before the World cup, it recommends a "co-operation with the national inspection and immigration department of work, in particular in order to consider the emission of short term visas associated to certificates of international transfer in order to avoid the" traffic "of young players".


"It is too convenient to put the responsibility on the only shoulders of the players's agent, moderates the geographer Raffaele Poli, of the international Center of sport study (CIES) of Neuchtel, in Switzerland. Members of the African diaspora organize these migration, former African players, observers paid by the European clubs or European coaches who have left to work in Africa are also used as head bridge."

Specialist in the migrations of the African players, Raffaele Poli notes that many European clubs "delocalize the production of players where the quality-price ratio is the best and invest in the Third World via youth academy with an aim of putting their hands very early on young talents or in a purely speculative strategy of acquisition of cheap labour with an aim of sold them to other clubs".

Two years ago, the president of the Olympic Lyonnais, Jean-Michel Aulas, had threatened "to delocalize" its youth academy.

The geographer also notes a strong social pressure in Africa on the leaders of club and federations so that they do not take measures intended to stop the departure of the players because, on one hand, the survival of the clubs depends on the sale of players and, on the other hand, the national selections profit from it by recovering players trained in large European clubs.

"As long as the African countries will not have national championships credible and regular and will not privilege the formation, they will not manage to prevent the young people from leaving", estimates Jules Kodjo, France-Benin president of association Football plus.

"the only solution would be that African football becomes more professional but we do not have the means", judges Salif Keita, old glory of the Greens (Saint-Etienne) and president of the Malian Federation of football.

The president of Culture foot solidaire proposes that the professional clubs, the FIFA and the UEFA feed an "international mutual aid funds" in order to finance the installation of structured championships and the development of centers of prevention to inform the young Africans and their families of the dangers of the expatriation and to propose alternatives to the mirage of football.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old November 4th, 2006, 09:18
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Thanks for taking the time and effort to translate this very interesting article, Fk.

One can criticise FIFA for many things but, as in everything in life, nothing is all bad or all good. In this case they are very right in wanting to protect African football from the exodus of players and these initiatives are really positive.

It's really a shame that people with responsibilities in World Football such as the likes of Arsène Wenger spew criticism against the attempt to regulate the number of foreigners playing in European clubs which exactly the same kind of policy portraied in this article. It's all about protecting the right of a footballer to play in his club and in his country without having to leave his own environment to try his luck.

I am not against the mobility of players and I am all for having squads with players from very different places but there must be a limit or else the usual suspects will always win in the end...the richest and most powerful clubs, such as the one that Monsieur Wenger so blindly defends.

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
Nelson Mandela
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