ROMANIAN FOOTBALL’S “SLAVERY” CRISIS
(P1) Florin Anitoiu is DESPERATE. He has travelled 10 hours on an overnight train to meet me in Bucharest. He wants to tell the world how the game he grew up loving is keeping him prisoner.
(P2) Anitoiu is a young full-back for Metalul Resita in Romania’s second division. He has not been paid for five months and is forbidden from changing clubs.
(P3) “Every night I cry and then every morning I’m training on my own,” says the 21-year-old. “I don’t see how the situation could change in the near future. I can’t survive in these conditions – I have DEBTS and SOONER OR LATER I will have to find another job.”
(P4) Under Romanian law, a club that enters BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS does not have to pay or release players until it gets its finances IN ORDER. The players are considered financial ASSETS of the club, like a STADIUM or playing EQUIPMENT.
(P5) EVENTUALLY Anitoiu had enough. Last November he and several teammates staged a BOYCOTT. Instead of playing in a match they held up a BANNER that said “Football 2015 = SLAVERY“.
(P6) “We wanted to get a reaction, to show we could not go on this way,” said Anitoiu.
(P7) However, while many other teams showed their support for the Resita players, so far nothing has changed.
(P8) Portuguese player Geraldo Alves, 35, supports Anitoiu’s stance. He experienced the effects of INSOLVENCY during his time with the Petrolul Ploiesti team.
(P9) “I was there for two years and everything was quite good until our president was arrested. He used insolvency to avoid paying his debts,” Alves says.
(P10) “It’s not only the players who are affected, it’s everyone connected with a football team – the doctors, the MASSEUR, the GROUNDSKEEPERS.
(P11) “They are not paid for seven or eight months, they don’t have anything to eat, don’t know how to survive. This is about more than football, it’s about being HUMANE.”
(P12) One man IN THEIR CORNER is Emilian Hulubei, the President of the Romanian Players’ UNION. His office is lined with hundreds of big blue folders detailing DISPUTES with clubs. Many Romanian football clubs are insolvent.
(P13) “The image of football is very low at this moment in Romania,” says Hulubei.
(P14) “Parents don’t want their kids to go [and play]. There are a lot of them who have huge talent and they disappear from football because of this problem.”
(P15) Hulubei wants politicians to INTERVENE to change the law on insolvency.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Does the Romanian law sound fair to you?
- What would you do if you were one of these players?
- Is football (soccer) one of your favorite sports to watch?
- When you were a child, what sports did you play the most?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Sooner or later
- In order
- In their corner