The Protection of Young Footballers – What is the Way Forward?

The Protection of Young Footballers – What is the Way Forward?

Lankaster Lecture Theatre (University College London)
Medawar Building,
Malet Place (off Torrington Place),
London WC1
Wednesday 7th March 2012 at 6pm

(For directions click here)

Given by: Jean-Claude Mbvoumin, Founder of Foot Solidaire; & Sam Potter, Filmmaker & Managing Director of Masnomis Ltd


In this presentation Jean-Claude Mbvoumin presents an overview of the work carried out by Foot Solidaire, an international NGO based in Paris.

Each year many school-age African boys come to Europe because they believe they have a contract with a professional football club. Unfortunately, huge numbers of them have been set up by false agents and end up living on the streets as illegal immigrants with no money and no means of sustaining themselves. Foot Solidaire tries to help young Africans who realise they have been cheated by false football agents or unceremoniously rejected by a club because their talents did not develop as expected.

Foot Solidaire estimates that in France alone, there are more than 7,000 young Africans living on the streets after failed attempts to play for a professional club.

This is not so much a problem in the United Kingdom; however, Premier League clubs indirectly contribute to the problem through the activities of their feeder clubs in Belgium, Switzerland and France.

Foot Solidaire is the only known international charity to date actively engaged in combating the trafficking of minors. It was originally funded as part of FIFA’s social responsibility agenda but FIFA has now withdrawn funding from the project.

The film Soka Afrika tracks two young men whose starkly differing passages make for a story that winds into and out of triumph, loneliness, accomplishment and anguish. The message of the film goes far beyond the story-line though, as it takes an intricate look at the issue of trafficking and the risks that aspiring footballers, particularly from Africa, face.

The purpose of this seminar is to highlight this highly sensitive topic and bring it to the fore of UK public consciousness.



Jean-Claude Mbvoumin

Jean-Claude is a former Cameroonian international footballer who plied his trade in France for AS Beauvais and US Dunkerque. He arrived in France at the age of 20 and his experience as a young footballer in a foreign country allowed him to appreciate first-hand the plight of other young footballers who fell by the wayside. Upon retirement, he was determined to give something back and take a stance against the practices of rogue football agents. This led him to found in 2000, Foot Solidaire. He has since worked tirelessly and lobbied FIFA, UEFA, the ECA, the EU, the UN and other international organisations to raise awareness of the plight of young African footballers in Europe.

Sam Potter

Sam Potter was educated at Westminster School and then Magdalen College, Oxford, attaining a BA (Hons) in Physics. He worked for five years at HSBC Private Bank in both Geneva and London. Much of his tenure was spent attached to the funds of hedge funds department, where he helped to develop industry standards for data collection and reporting. Sam is presently a trustee on a charitable foundation whose many deeds include the recent founding of The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as well as grants to human rights associations, educational institutions and more. In 2009 Sam co-founded Masnomis Ltd (an independent television and film production company) with Simon Laub, assuming the role of Managing Director.

Contact Details

For further details on this seminar series contact:

Sean Hamil
Department of Management
Birkbeck College
Malet Street

Tel: 020-7631 6763

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