As many as three out of five players in the English Premier League are bankrupt within five years of the end of their soccer careers. In the American NBA league, it is the same for basketball players. But it is very different in the Netherlands. There, soccer players appear to have their finances arranged even better than the average Dutch person. And the CFK - a financial bridging arrangement for professional soccer players and cyclists - probably plays a major role in this.
Having been director of the CFK for fifteen years, Ben-Ivar Kolster knows who he’s dealing with. And in his current role as financial coach at the VVCS (the interest group for professional soccer players) he has seen the comings and goings of professional players up close as well. So, he was aware that not every soccer player is equally responsible with his money. But he didn’t think it would be as bad as is it is England and the U.S.
Kolster: “We saw those statistics projected one on one in the Netherlands. But because we did not recognize that image at all, we had it investigated by a student at the University of Utrecht. And guess what the outcome was? After their soccer careers, professional soccer players in the Netherlands have even fewer financial problems than the average Dutch person, according to the definitions of Nibud (independent research institute in the Netherlands that provides information about personal finance to the public). They have fewer payment problems, take out fewer loans and make ends meet more easily. No, that didn’t surprise us. Because the CFK is effective in taking care of things that could lead to problems for them, after their careers are over.”
A financial buffer that gives professional soccer players and cyclists time after their sporting careers to prepare for a second career in society without financial worries. That’s how you could describe the CFK. For top athletes, it is often hard to accept reality once their career in sports has ended. Many struggle with the loss of their income and their daily structure and fall into a black hole. The CFK is aimed at preventing this, by building up a personal financial reserve.