Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Out Of Africa

A group run by a former Cameroonian soccer player estimates that there are over 7,000 African boys currently living in France illegally. The lure of a professional contract has led them to a life in the shadows:
Many of the boys have paid 3000-4000 Euros [$4,084-$5,445] for visas and plane tickets to so-called agents that have duped them into believing that a club contract is waiting for them. The money has often been scraped together by the boys’ extended families in the hope that a football contract will solve all their economic problems. When the plan falls through the boys are too ashamed or scared to go home and end up trapped in France without any means of subsistence.
With a politician exposing 442 cases in Belgium "alone of illegal importation of young players from Nigeria," the problem seems more widespread than I had imagined. The next step falls to the European Parliament who have expressed a desire to stop the trafficking and to set up a fund to help those currently stuck in Europe without any prospects.

Their aim is to have something in place by the time the South African World Cup rolls around. I'm not holding my breath.

Prevention programme proposed to stop football trafficking [Play the Game]



Wes said...

This is very sad indeed. I hope something is done about it.

Laurie said...

I've been mentally working on a post on a similar topic, and on the Senegalese school sponsored in part by Patrick Vieira that promotes both soccer and education and refuses to "sell" boys before their eighteenth birthday.

This is the ugly side of the European game (and yes, my beloved French teams are among the guilty parties.) There is just so much money to be made in buying and selling these boys, and no real consequences for doing it. There is an answer, but there is currently not much will to make it happen.

P.S. This is unrelated, but did you see our boy Dhorasoo finally got a contract?

soccermad said...

It'll be interesting to see how the problem gets addressed before the big show comes to South Africa in three years time. The last thing African kids (and their families) need is soccer's showcase on their doorstep creating the ulitmate lure for unscrupulous "agents."

Yes Laurie, our favorite flimmaker is going back to Italy. No word yet on if he's planning to take his camcorder along, because you know there's plenty of material in Italian soccer to make a movie.