Teen footballer’s evening goal raises questions on youth workers

Teen footballer's evening goal raises questions on youth workers
Should he not be tucked up in bed? Photo: DPA
Questions have been raised about the application of youth work protection rules for teenage footballers after Julian Draxler scored the winning goal for Schalke 04 against Nuremberg last week – after 8 pm.

The law protecting young employees says that those under 18 can only work between 6 am and 8 pm, and although exceptions are made for those working in bakeries and certain other professions, sport is not mentioned.

A teacher from Bochum has been researching the question of whether the 17-year-old professional footballer was legally allowed to play in the evening matches in which he has been put on the field.

“Draxler’s substitution onto the field was after 10 pm, when as far as I know, there is a special protection for youths,” Hans Zimmermann told the website of Der Spiegel newsmagazine.

He said Draxler was simply an example of the general problem of under-18s working and the lack of protection that many of them are afforded.

“Many work overtime and are under pressure, are afraid,” he said.

The question Zimmermann wants to ask is whether the youth employment protection laws are important enough to also apply to footballers. If not, one cannot be surprised if they are not applied in other, less glamorous areas.

The German Football League said individual clubs were responsible for keeping to the relevant laws, while the German Football Association said it was not responsible and could not deliver general exceptions.

“Actually we do not know exactly,” said Rolf Dittrich, Schalke 04’s spokesman, adding that there had never been any reason to examine such cases.

“We are not exactly driving a bus-full of 15-year-olds to the stadium to take tickets,” he said.

The Local/hc

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