January 11, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Guadalajara, Mexican – soccer star Rafael Marquez said Jan. 3 that players need an independent union to increase their bargaining power and prevent wage theft.
Club owners, he told reporters three days before the Mexican league’s winter-spring season opened, now treat the players “however they want,” while some players stay silent to “try to keep their jobs and not make things worse.” Chiapas, which finished last in the fall season, regularly pays players late, and owners have a “gentlemen’s pact” not to sign players who become free agents when their contracts have expired. The Liga MX, Marquez added, is the only league “in which the player doesn’t have access or a voice to decide to [accept a trade to another club] or not. That has to end.” Marquez, now 37, has been captain of Mexico’s national team in the last four World Cups. His defensive skills helped Barcelona win the Spanish league title four times and the European Champions League twice during his seven seasons there. He later spent two years with the New York Red Bulls, and returned to Atlas, the Guadalajara team where he began his career in 1996, in December 2015. Read more