67 percent of professional footballers are uncertain what they will do when they retire, according to an international union (FIFPRO) survey of active and retired players, which shows that 54% did not receive any assistance in planning their second career .
The sampling data indicate that only 33% of those surveyed stated that they had “confidence” regarding their second professional stage after retirement; that 49% have “some idea or some interests” and that 18% do not know what they will do when the day after comes.
The survey is part of the ‘Mind the Gap’ campaign, co-financed by the European Union Erasmus + program to help footballers’ unions provide support for personal development, and was carried out by researchers from the University of Brussels among 282 players and female players, active and retired, from 33 countries.
As reported by FIFPRO, 34% of retirees began preparing for a new career from one to three years before stopping playing; 19% began to do so at the beginning of their football stage and 12% after suffering an injury. For 46% of those surveyed, the end of their career came unexpectedly, due to injury or some other reason.
54% percent of the players did not receive any assistance in planning their second career and within this group 34% stated that it was because the support did not exist; 18% because they did not know they could access this help and 14% because they “did not want to think” about life after football.
Among those who did receive support to plan their withdrawal, 45% indicated that this included study opportunities, 28% that it was for individual counseling, 24% for participation in workshops and 18% for the development of a curriculum.
Retired players cited a lack of motivation and long-term perspective, as well as a lack of financial resources among the most important barriers to end-of-career planning. Active players cited time constraints and lack of support as factors for not doing so.
In FIFPRO’s view, the survey data is “a wake-up call to the football industry” and shows that “more must be done to assist young footballers to prepare for the moment when they stop playing.”
“They make great sacrifices in their childhood and early twenties to become professional footballers, and the industry must do more to help them cope with what comes next. This includes not only their financial future, but also their well-being and mental health, ”said Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, FIFPRO Secretary General.
The group highlighted the work that some of its unions already carry out in this area, as well as that in some countries there are agreements with leagues and federations whereby a percentage of income per game is allocated to unions for support and player development. EFE (HN)