The International Centre of Sports Security (ICSS), an association with which the LFP collaborates to maintain the integrity of the competition and prevent sporting fraud, has warned of a rapidly growing scam in the world of football. It involves people posing as player agents, some of whom adopt the identities of well-known agents, in order to trick young players by offering them trials at big clubs in exchange for money.
The players are usually contacted via social media and, once the relationship is established, they are asked to send a deposit of €500 for visas and expenses which will never be incurred. Normally these false agents say that the clubs will cover the flights, but on occasion players have been duped into paying for plane tickets, which has increased the cost of the scam to €3000.
According to the ICSS, Spain is one of the countries in which this type of fraud is most prevalent. These criminals often forge club stationary in order to make their scam seem more believable and the youngsters are usually asked to deposit their money in British, American and Ukrainian bank accounts.
The ICSS recommends that clubs and national associations warn people:
- If a player is asked to pay for a trial at a club, it is not a real offer.
- The aforementioned methods used by false agents to recruit players.
- Advise players to contact the club themselves to make sure the offer is real.
Players and those in their immediate environment should know that:
- Clubs do not contact players via social media.
- Clubs do not use generic email accounts, but rather their own accounts.
- If the player has any doubts, he should contact the club which has supposedly made the offer, and search for the contact in the club’s official directory.
- Agents acting on behalf of a club can never ask a player for money.
- No club asks for money in exchange for a trial, nor for the costs associated with one.
- Visas are issued in the player’s country of origin, meaning that no one based abroad can ask for money for this process.
The LFP also recommends that anyone who has fallen victim to this scam should contact the authorities.