A new display of intolerance and an absolute lack of respect for human dignity was witnessed Monday in Colombia, when footballer Félix Micolta was physically and verbally attacked by Duvan Vásquez, manager of Corporación Deportiva Once Caldas. Among others, the player was hit in his face.
In shameless statements to the media, the so-called director not only admitted responsibility for the attack but justified it, describing Félix Micolta as an ungrateful person for having presented a letter terminating his labour contract with the club for just cause, a decision the player had notified during the morning. Micolta took this step because he had not received his wages and several premiums.
The Colombian footballers’ association Acolfutpro reacted furiously: ‘Clearly, for some directors, the mere fact of demanding the payment of wages, premiums and social security contributions is a 'blasphemy', and daring to seek new alternative employment in order to guarantee a decent income for footballers and the families that depend on them when clubs fail to meet their commitments is a 'disgrace' that some Colombian directors still won't accept.’
The Colombian Association of Professional Footballers (Acolfutpro) energetically ‘rejects this assault on dignity and integrity directed at Félix Micolta, and repudiates the behaviour of Duvan Vásquez, an obscure person in football who should be given exemplary punishment to prevent his continuing to mistreat and violate the respect and dignity that every human being is due’.
‘We wish to recognize the exemplary attitude of the footballer, Félix Micolta, who in spite of suffering ill-treatment and physical and verbal aggression, did not react but avoided putting himself on the same level as his aggressor.’
Acolfutpro demands that Coldeportes and the Disciplinary Commission of the Colombian Football Federation officially and immediately proceed to punish drastically this director, who is unworthy of retaining his position as manager of Corporación Deportiva Once Caldas.
This is incredible’, is the opinion of Theo van Seggelen, secretary general of FIFPro. ‘Félix Micolta makes use of his rights as a worker, after he has earlier complied with his own obligations as an employee by playing football for Once Caldas, but for which he was never rewarded.’
‘It is unheard of that this manager, Mr Duvan Vásquez, thinks that his action is justified. Instead of hitting players, he would be better off paying them; he should take better care that his club has sufficient money to meet its contractual obligations. The essence of professional football is that a football player gets paid to play football.’
‘FIFPro has every confidence that professional football in Colombia can take a giant step forward, thanks to the recent introduction of the new sports law. But administrators such as Duvan Vásquez must then also be convinced that every professional footballer not only has obligations, but also has rights. Such as the right to a salary and the right to a safe working environment, without having a boss who hits people.’