The mysterious offer to play football in Iceland hides a employment doubtful

"Earn up to 2,000 euros every month playing and working in Iceland". This is the ad that has appeared this January in pathways central areas of Barcelona like

The mysterious offer to play football in Iceland hides a employment doubtful

"Earn up to 2,000 euros every month playing and working in Iceland". This is the ad that has appeared this January in pathways central areas of Barcelona like the plaza Francesc Macià. The offer is Stridsmenn, a new club of Reykjavik that want to compete in the fourth division of icelandic football. The candidates are required to be citizens of the European Union and submitted to a few tests to be selected. There is No age limit –although in other cities where it has hung up the announcement, like Edinburgh, it is advised that the stakeholders should not exceed 30 years. The Stridsmenn paints a promising future for its players, but the reality may be another.

Of entry is not clear what is the real name of the club: its website reports that since January 1 is called a Football Club Skandinavía. The reason, according to the entity, is the refusal of the Football Association of Iceland (KSI) to accept the name Stridsmenn –which means warrior in icelandic– "because it is contrary to the spirit of sportsmanship". The KSI confirms that the Stridsmenn/Skandinavía has requested authorization to participate in official competitions. A spokesman for the KSI says don't have record of any other club that signed players through ads on the street, but corroborates that "except for a few exceptions, the majority of our players earn their living with other jobs." The Athletic Club FH, where he trains the Skandinavía, confirmed that the team is conducting tests at their facilities to accommodate players.

The phone contact Skandinavía is the Saint Paul Edeh, a exfutbolista nigerian who serves as coach. Edeh was one of the stars of Africa United, a documentary from 2005 about footballers foreigners in Iceland. Edeh, who has refused to talk with the journal, tweeted in January of 2019 the first messages to capture the attention of international players: "I am looking for a attacking midfielder and left-handed that you can join the first team of a club of reference scandinavian. The salary is moderately lucrative". The salary is not what brings the club but the companies who hire the players, supports the Skandinavía on its website: "By not knowing how to speak icelandic, our players tend to find work in grocery stores, in cleaning services, in jobs, in security, in hotels, kitchens, as machine operators, bus drivers, in bakeries, as carers of vulnerable people or in processing plants and fish". In the worst cases, the club guarantees "employment with one or two of the sponsors". The Skandinavía claims to have eight sponsors, small businesses of Reykjavik as an ice cream parlor, a restaurant, two supermarkets and a chain of pizzerias. The team claims that along to the sponsors, in their equipment, give visibility to the logo of Amnesty International. The local office of Amnesty reports that it has given permission to do so.

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Iceland has a population of 356.000 inhabitants –14% are foreigners– and an unemployment rate of 3.5%. It is the fifth State of Europe in GDP per capita. The 2,000 euros that promises the announcement would be a good salary for the standards of Spain, but not for Iceland: the minimum wage in this country is set in 317.000 crowns per month, the equivalent of 2.300 euros. The statistics of your Government indicate that the average salary is close to 5,000 euros per month.

Those interested in participating in the tests to join the team must pay for their travel and accommodation in Reykjavik. The tests last for five days and is held during the last week of February and march. It's worth the effort, according to the club, because it is "a springboard to jump to top equipment". "The level of the fourth division icelandic is enough to compete with teams from mid-table of the second or of the third division of the big european leagues," he says with the optimism of the Skandinavía.

Updated Date: 22 January 2020, 06:00

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