Prospective young footballers are being abandoned on the streets of France and Belgium, a football agent believes.
Tony White, a former West Ham player now representing footballers in France, says young players are being brought to the country from overseas by agents looking to make a ‘quick buck’ – only to be abandoned on the streets by the agents when they are unsuccessful.
“It’s mainly players of African origin,” says Mr White. “If the don’t make it, the agents just leave them and literally dump them on the streets.”
These allegations follow a story which broke in France last year, about a young man who was taken to the country by an agent, with the promise of trials at clubs and the wealth and success that went with it. Following two unsuccessful trials, the player sustained an injury and never heard from the agent again. He was later found living rough outside the Eurostar station in Paris.
“I believe that wasn’t an isolated incident,” said Mr White. “Thankfully in England, we have restrictions to stop that, but there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there who put the wellbeing of young children at risk to fulfil the dream.”
“The agents take the attitude that if the players make it then great, they would make some money out of it. If they didn’t make it – next.”