Soccer-FIFPRO warns players against signing for Egyptian clubs

FILE PHOTO: An Egyptian flag flutters in Cairo, Egypt, January 15, 2023. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany/File Photo

CAIRO (Reuters) - FIFPRO, the global representative body for professional footballers, has advised foreign players against signing for Egyptian clubs because of what they allege are frequent contractual disputes and abusive behaviour by club officials.

In a statement that triggered a strongly-worded response from the Egyptian Football Association (EFA), FIFPRO said a player moving to a club in the country had "a high chance of resulting in legal proceedings".

"In recent times FIFPRO has seen a spike in labour conflicts in Egypt, concerning both the non-payment of salaries and abusive behaviour such as the confiscation of passports, forgery, and blackmail," the statement read.

The body warned players against handing over their passports to club officials, even if told it was required to obtain a residency or work permit, as the retention of travel documents had been used to force players to sign termination agreements.

FIFPRO also warned players not to sign blank contracts and to retain one signed version of the contract, while also ensuring the correct currency was stipulated on it.

The EFA, which oversees the country's professional clubs, firmly rejected FIFPRO's allegations.

"The EFA is extremely frustrated with the statement issued by FIFPRO, which contains several erroneous pieces of information," it said in a statement late on Wednesday.

"We can confirm that even if some incidents occurred, they represent individual cases that do not apply to all Egyptian clubs.

"We have 268 foreign players in different tiers and over the past four years, we have only received two complaints regarding passport withholding. Both matters were immediately resolved after our intervention."

Clubs like Zamalek, Egyptian Premier League champions for the last two seasons, Al-Ismaily and Pharco have in the last few years been handed hefty fines and transfer bans due to non-payment of salaries and breaches of contracts.

(Reporting by Osama Khairy and Ahmed Mostafa, editing by Nick Mulvenney, William Maclean)

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