FIFPro, the worldwide representative organisation for 65,000 professional footballers, went ahead with its ‘threat’ to the Cyprus’ footballers’ association (PASP), and issued a warning to all its members and especially those who either play or intend to continue their playing careers in Cyprus to demand a signed copy of all contracts they agree with a Cypriot club.
FIFPro said players in Cyprus were complaining that they had not received copies of their contracts and, as a consequence, were having a problem getting their full salary paid. The organisation, which has received several complaints, strongly advises footballers and their agents or representatives to demand a signed copy of all contracts they agree with a Cypriot club.
Signing more than one contract for the same employment period is common practice in Cyprus. To lower tax costs, clubs offer players multiple contracts: one which is officially registered with the football association, and a second which is not registered with the FA. Clubs only pay taxes for the first contract. The player’s remuneration from the second contract is higher.
“On the island, they call them ‘black contracts’, as payments are not disclosed to the competent authorities and taxes are not paid,” said Roy Vermeer, FIFPro’s Legal Director Europe. Problems arise when the club does not fulfil the obligations of the second contract and a player does not possess a copy of this contract.
“As a result, it is very difficult to prove his remuneration and to legally receive any due payables or compensation as far as the black contract amounts are concerned,” Vermeer said. Other consequences of signing an unregistered contract include possible criminal prosecution and lower social security benefits when injured and unemployed.
According to the Minimum Requirements for Standard Player Contracts, all rights and duties concerning the employment relationship between the player and the club must be included in one contract. However, according to the 2016 FIFPro Global Employment Report, 49 per cent of players in Cyprus said they had a second contract.
“Unfortunately, some players agree when clubs propose to sign a black contract,” Vermeer said. “They are only interested in the net remuneration paid to them and do not care if the club will pay lower taxes. Even if, in the future, this will be to their detriment.”
FIFPro recently received complaints from players who have not been given signed contracts by their teams and are now experiencing payment issues.
Vermeer explained that players are entitled by law to receive a signed copy of their contract. “It is a violation of the law if a club refuses to grant original contracts and any supplementary agreements. All signed agreements must be issued in triplicate, one copy for each party: federation, player and club.”
In response to FIFPro’s announcement the president of PASP, Spyros Neophytides, said that these irregularities cannot be swept under the carpet and can only damage Cyprus football.
He urged all PASP members to be well informed of all their rights and obligations and called on any member to address the association should they need any advice or clarifications.