Hundreds of up and coming young footballers from Africa and Asia are being duped by unscrupulous sports agents who promise them a playing career in France, it was revealed today.
According to a report by French television, talent scouts will often persuade the players’ families to part with up to 5,000 euros in return for a professional contract with a top French club. But when the players’ get to Paris, the agent and the money mysteriously disappear.
“There was this Portugese agent. He told me he knew people in France. That’s why I came here,” said Adama Bamba, an 18-year-old player from the Ivory Coast. “But I don’t know where he lives and he’s disappeared. I don’t know where he’s gone.”
One local football association has dealt with more than 1,200 victims of these unscrupulous agents in the last five years.
“Of course they’re trafficking people, it’s just like the slave movement. The guy takes their money, brings them to France and abandons them here,” said former Cameroon international, Stephane Akongo, who now trains the young men.
According to officials, talent scouts are also targeting talented players from China, Thailand and Malaysia.