ALMOST the same number of players who took part in the FIFPro study claim to have faced bullying and harassment at work.
- 08:25, 29 NOV 2016
A STAGGERING 35 per cent of Scottish players taking part in a worldwide survey claim they have been threatened by fans.
And almost a third insist they have faced bullying and harassment at work, with the figures far higher than in other European countries.
Players union FIFPro canvassed 14,000 members in their survey and 168 took part in Scotland from Premiership and Championship clubs.
The results make for worrying reading because while only 10 per cent of European players taking part had suffered threats from punters, the figure was more than three times higher in Scotland.
And the survey took place before last season’s Scottish Cup Final when Rangers claimed their players were attacked by Hibs fans during a pitch invasion.
Workplace bullying is another cause for concern, with 28 per cent of Scottish-based stars in the survey suffering compared to just 12 per cent for Europe in general.
And Tony Higgins, the former Hibs player who is vice-president of FIFPro Europe, believes the results show some coaches and managers haven’t moved with the times.
He said: “You accept there is going to be abuse in football because that’s part of the nature of it but things that were said in the 1970s and 80s when I was a player are no longer acceptable.
“Players say very little about the abuse in public – but this survey was confidential and shows there is a high level of concern.”
PFA Scotland organised the survey among eight Premiership and Championship clubs and chief executive Fraser Wishart insists attitudes have to change in the stands as well.
The former Motherwell and Rangers star said: “This is 2017. Players nowadays feel they deserve the same respect in their workplace we all have come to expect.
“You hear supporters saying, ‘I feel for £30 I’m entitled to say what I want.’
“Well, no you’re not. The law has changed for a start and most people wouldn’t accept
somebody coming into their workplace shouting and bawling obscenities in that way.
“That’s something we have to be aware of as a sport and as a union. Players don’t just accept anything that is thrown at them any more.”
A much more positive finding was the response to late payment of wages.
In Europe as a whole, 34 per cent of players had problems with getting their salary on time but the figure was just five per cent for Scotland.
Wishart said: “While we might not have players being paid huge amounts of money, the SPFL have very good rules whereby the clubs are punished immediately and we’ve worked with them on that.
Even if you’re a day late with a payment you’ve got to tell the league and immediate sanctions could be taken against the club.
“This came about after the Hearts situation where players weren’t being paid months on end. It’s an offence not to tell the league in advance you’re not going to pay your players.”
According to the survey the biggest concern among players in Scotland is that they are getting less than 10 days paid holiday a year.
A whopping 36 per cent said this applied to them. Wishart believes the figure would be even higher if players from the two lower leagues had been included.
He said: “We don’t believe players get their paid annual leave. Contracts say it must be taken during close season unless agreed otherwise.
“We’ve had a number of tribunal cases running and they tend to settle once the clubs’ lawyers look at it.”
Nineteen per cent of players also reported they were unhappy with the medical support offered by their clubs and PFA Scotland say this is another issue which needs to be addressed.