“Earn up to €2,000 a month playing in Iceland”, read the eye-catching adverts that are to be seen on litter and dog waste bins and bus-stops dotted around many European cities. This unique offer for all EU passport holders, anxious to play the beautiful game, is open to anyone under the age of thirty. That is, except in Barcelona, where the adverts do not state any age limit. (Perhaps that is because the club is hoping to sign up Messi!)
This tantalising opportunity is being provided by FC Stridsmenn, a brand new fourth tier club in Reykjavik. However, there is a lot of mystery enveloping this club, starting with its very name. According to its webpage, which is still under the name of Stridsmenn, the club has been retitled Skandinavia Football Club. This is due to the rather bellic connotations that the original name carries; Stridsmenn in Icelandic means warrior. Subsequently, it has been rejected by the Football Association of Iceland, as such a name goes against the spirit of the sport.
There is another enigma which is perhaps even more important to solve. Who pays the players? Seemingly, it is not the club itself, rather the eight sponsors that FC Stridsmenn can boast of, which range from an icecream parlour (which must be very successful in Iceland!) to a small pizza chain.
Amnisty International also forms part of this puzzle. The Warriors claim that their kits will bear the logo of the human rights organisation. However, this has been radically denied by the global organisation that takes injustice personally. (The Warriors should be careful here!)
Yet, there is an even bigger mystery to work out. How will the players, who are not literate in the Icelandic language, survive on €2,000 a month in a country where the minimum salary is €2,500 ? Once again, the club has shining promises for them, claiming that they have extensive contacts in the Iceland labour market. But for those who do not speak the language that can only mean working in such jobs as machine workers, cleaners and the likes. Alas! the type of jobs that the nationals of any country no longer want..
However, the club does not see any of these points as disadvantages. In turn, they are highly optimistic that the chosen players will be trampolined back to the EU as stars. Perhaps then they might be able to say goodbye to the training sessions that will take place indoors, three nights a week in winter and outdoors in summer. This unorthodox timetable for European footballers will certainly give leeway to the players to work and earn a living. Nevertheless, it is not exactly what any budding star would expect to endure.
To boot, all those aspiring to be Icelandic football stars, are to foot the cost of their flights to Iceland, not to mention their accomodation. The webpage seems to have taken into account the personal finances of these budding players by informing of the cheapest means to travel within the country plus the most economical places in which to stay.
But all is not lost. There is no pre-selection process. The would-be football stars need not apply in advance to attend any of the trials that are to take place between January and March. Which, by the way, are totally free of charge! Is this because it is all litter and dog waste?