03.03.2016 19:24 h

'Humiliated', 'harassed' player battles Poland's 'Coconut club'

Sebino Plaku (l.)
Sebino Plaku (l.)

Albania's Sebino Plaku will Friday fight for compensation against Polish club Slask Wroclaw who he claims forced him to work 14 hours a day, train with a camera fixed to his head and sell newspapers in a shopping centre.

It was the type of regime, the footballers' union (FifPro) argue, that stood for humiliation and harassment and has become known in Poland as the 'Coconut Club'.

The term is named after player Daniel "Kokos" Kokosinski who alleged similar treatment at Polonia Warsaw in 2009 when he was forced to train alone. Kokos means coconut in Polish.

"(Plaku) said he was ordered to train in the morning, afternoon and evening for six days a week when he refused to reduce his salary to less than half of what was agreed in his contract," said a statement from FifPro released Thursday.

"Some of the time he trained alone with a camera fixed on him to check that he was not slacking during a 14-hour day.

"He was also ordered to do humiliating chores like handing out club newspapers in a shopping centre, training in old kit and supervising the training of seven year old children."

Slask Wroclaw Krzysztof Swierszcz refused to comment on the allegations made by Plaku who will take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday.

"We are not commenting at the moment on this affair," he told AFP. "We are waiting for the verdict of the tribunal."

Plaku claims he was told by the club in 2014 he had to accept a pay cut from 14,000 euros a month to 5,000 euros due to financial difficulties.

The club refused his offer to cut his pay by 25 percent, or go out on loan to another team.

"They did everything to destroy my mind," Plaku said in a statement.

"They nearly did. I twice thought about stopping football. Once was when my wife who was pregnant said: 'Sebo, why are you doing this?' I told her I was doing it for her and our unborn son."