Football is the most important adventitious issue in the world while sports programs and events are the most popular and the most visited. Those facts can be confirmed by every third citizen in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Sports are generally something that is recommended and in each country it is an area with a special attention in terms of encouraging and investing in young athletes, sports facilities and infrastructure.

Sport in Bosnia and Herzegovina is designated as a special area and a constant investment is made to the same. However, it must nevertheless be acknowledged that this investment is insufficient in the sense that many sport events and competitions are still organized in an amateur manner. The reason for this is the fact that sports do not bring us profit and earnings as in other parts of Europe. Therefore, athletes are not appreciated (as much as they deserve), and in addition the least attention is paid to protection of athletes’ rights.

Sport and athletes are the phenomenon through which the states are being represented in the world, and based on the success and behaviour of athletes 50% of citizens form a picture about the state the same is coming from. In addition to undoubted earnings, this is also one of the reasons why states encourage sports development.

A breakthrough in the life of every athlete is the period from the 15th to the 18th year of age, i.e. when all children decide whether to continue their education (to go the University) or to devote themselves to sport and place their sporting activities to a more serious and more professional level. Of course, they need support from the state which they don’t have. Realistically speaking, each parent will advise the child to continue with education, rather than sport, because in this country it is not possible to make a living from sports. There are very rare cases of those who succeed. It is about survival from year to year until the age of 35 years and then there is a question what to do afterwards? Here we primarily refer to athletes and after them to all sportsmen.

The problem is also how to charge your hard earned wages from clubs and sports organizations that are often in a bad financial and material situation.

It must be acknowledged (there are exceptions though) that in Bosnia and Herzegovina there is the largest number of amateur sports clubs and organizations and thus amateur contracts between athletes and clubs. Contracts concluded by athletes (amateurs and professionals) most often contain only basic and mandatory parts in terms of the name of the contracting parties, the time period for which the same is concluded and the financial compensation. In addition to the “simplicity” of the contract, every sportsperson who has a contract with a sports organization is entitled to certain rights.

The most common cases are that clubs despite the contract do not abide by contractual obligations and often do not pay contracted earnings to their members. In other states it is regulated in such a way that the world sports federations through national federations control, monitor and influence clubs in the sense that they do not allow them to compete if they do not pay debts to athletes (players) but here not too many  athletes decide on that step and protection.

We do not have a specially regulated system of protection for athletes, but it does not mean that athletes have no right to a court or any other form of protection. Court protection of athletes in collecting their claims from clubs is slow but effective in terms that the collection is successful in more than 90% of cases.

What every sportsman should do when he/she is in such situation is to try to solve all the misunderstandings with the club in a peaceful way (with a spirit of sport), contact the management, either directly or in writing, and then address a competent alliance. However, if there is no contract reached with the representatives of the club then they could initiate a court proceeding and enforced collection of claims.

In order to protect athletes and to generally improve the situation in sports, the first step would be to adopt a new sports law that needs to regulate and protect sportsmen in an easy, fast and efficient way or at least foresee greater responsibility and commitment of clubs and sports organizations for athletes and sports workers.

With this step, the state would encourage young people to engage in sports, to create more professional sportsmen who would have the same interest and a sense of income, both in sporting and from sporting.

Finally, it raises the question of whether or not our state can provide this safety to sportsmen or whether there is any plan to improve the situation in the coming period.

Author: Zeljko Vlacic, [email protected]

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