Many African youngsters dream of becoming wealthy soccer stars, but as a new report shows, Africa is a hard place to make that dream a reality. The annual employment report by the International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPro), a global soccer player union, reveals African-based professional soccer stars often play under dire conditions.
The union found that delayed pay was a common problem across the 13 African countries surveyed. This issue is most prevalent in Gabon, with 96% of the players reporting overdue pay, “the highest incidence of delayed pay in the world,” according to FIFPro. In Tunisia, 94% of the soccer players also report delayed payments, but FIFPro attributed this to a “dramatic slowdown” in football after terrorist attacks in the country last year. As a result, “several clubs owned by businessmen in the ailing tourism industry are not paying footballers on time,” the report says.
The report says that as a result of the pay issue, players are often susceptible to advances from match-fixing cartels—10% of players surveyed said they were aware of match fixing taking place in their league.