Despite rising awareness of charlatanism within its ranks, Britball still remains susceptible to those looking to make a quick buck off of the naive hopes and dreams of those hoping to make a living playing the sport they love. The actions of one Paul Zack are just the latest in a line that has gone on too long.
Zack has been contacting European athletes both privately, and leaving comments on pages used to recruit for professional and semi-professional teams on the continent, such as Europlayers, reaching out and offering the chance to play in London.
His Facebook page has very limited information, but his profile picture is, at the time of writing, a picture of two London Blitz players. After hearing that Zack claimed to be acting on behalf of the Blitz, we spoke to one of their representatives who confirmed that there was no relationship between Zack and the team, but that they were aware of him and had sent out a warning.
The representative told us that they were first made aware when Zack contacted a current Blitz player offering him the opportunity to be paid to play for the Blitz (top marks for Zack’s research skills then…). Zack claimed the Blitz were willing to pay £7000 and above per month for a seven month working season in addition to a two bedroom furnished apartment, transportation, food, medical cover, a travel allowance, free calls and gym access, match bonuses and an additional “weekly allowance”.
Zack asked that anyone interested respond to him and attend a fictional team camp by the 17th May, which falls part way through week six of the senior season.
Whilst there has been do indication yet that Zack has been asking for payment from any athletes, domestic or otherwise, this sort of contact falls comfortably in line with previous attempts at parting Britballers from their hard earned cash. Typically, somebody claiming to represent their own agency, an agency they are employed by, or a team themselves, will ask athletes for highlight film, some personal details, perhaps even direct contact to establish a relationship. At that point, the athlete will usually be asked to pay a relatively small fee to process the deal. Of course, no such deal is forthcoming, and the hopeful baller is left out of pocket.
Just a reminder that Britball is strictly amateur. Teams playing under the BAFA umbrella are not permitted to pay you to play football. Our advice if you’re contacted by Zack or someone similar? Avoid contact with them. If they’ve mentioned a specific team, get in contact with them and clarify the situation. And remember, in Britball, and the wider world, if any organisation that claims they will pay you asks for money from you up front, you’re better off avoiding them.