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FIFA and players’ union FIFPRO are setting up a fund to help footballers who go unpaid and have no chance of receiving wages from clubs in financial difficulties.

More than 50 clubs across 20 countries – including League One side Bury – have closed down in the last five years, plunging hundreds of players into trouble if they are unable to secure fresh employment.

The main target of the fund is to help players whose clubs go out of business to avoid paying wages and are then quickly reformed, giving previous employees no chance to reclaim what they are owed.

Grants from the Fund for Football Players will not, according to the governing body, cover the full amount of salary owed but will at least provide players with a safety net.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has set aside £12.3m to help players who go unpaid between 2020 and 2022.

A further £3.8m has been set aside for players who went unpaid between 2015 and 2020.

Infantino said: “This agreement and our commitment to helping players in a difficult situation show how we interpret our role as world football’s governing body.

“We are also here to reach out to those in need, especially within the football community, and that starts with the players, who are the key figures in our game.”

Philippe Piat, president of FIFPRO, added: “Many of these clubs have shut to avoid paying outstanding wages, immediately re-forming as so-called new clubs.

“FIFPRO has long campaigned against this unscrupulous practice and thanks FIFA for combating it in its Disciplinary Code.”

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