WBPL set to return despite unpaid wages and extortion

Like many sports leagues around the world Palestinian football has been in a state of paralysis since March. The extraordinary measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the West Bank will allow for the league to complete its remaining matches next month.

The PFA has announced that clubs will resume training on May 27th following the culmination of the Eid Al-Fitr holiday. The majority of clubs in the 12 team division have completed 19 rounds of play with three outstanding fixtures yet to be played.

Even before the crisis, many clubs were either in or on the brink of a full blown financial crisis. Clubs were almost entirely reliant on the league sponsorship for any sort of income alongside a trickle down payment from the PFA- who receive millions of dollars in development funding from FIFA.

A flawed business model means unpaid, or delayed payment, of wages is the norm for players plying their trade in the WBPL.

Hilal Al-Quds who earned a $320,000 on the back of their performance in the AFC Cup last year and additional $240,000 for qualifying to the group stages this year have not paid their players at all in 2020.

Players at other clubs have also gone unpaid in 2020 and have taken their grievances to Palestine Football Association President Jibril Rajoub.

Football Palestine has learned that the PFA offered the players a take it or leave it deal that would see the players earn six weeks salary instead of the 21 weeks they are owed. In order to receive these wages players must sign a document forfeiting their right to claim to the full amount. Players who do not sign the document will not receive any wages.

The WBPL will return with the final match of the 18th match day- Ahli Al-Khaleel vs. Hilal Al-Quds- with both teams needing a win to remain in the title race.

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