SINGAPORE (Reuters) - While Juventus look forward to a first Champions League final in more than a decade and the riches that success brings, former employees at the Italian giants’ Singapore-based soccer school push on with their fight for unpaid wages.
The Juventus Soccer School remains open for business at a secondary school in Southeast Asian city-state but offices of the parent company, Kicker, who run the school have been locked since March 4 over outstanding debts.
Singapore daily The New Paper said four employees working at the school were owed thousands in wages and had instructed government departments to pursue action against Kicker.
The paper said money was also owed to Servcorp Singapore, Kicker’s landlords.
Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower issued an order for Kicker to pay S$9,000 (4,341 pounds) in unpaid wages by May 12, the report said.
Servcorp, who said they had given Kicker 30 days grace before locking up the offices, had left the matter with their lawyers.
Richard Harris, a former coach at the school, said his messages and phone calls to Kicker’s managing director were not being returned.
“I took the job because I trusted Juventus, and when you get a contract with the Juventus logo on it and the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) logo on the website, you trust it,” the Scot told the paper.
Juventus, who drew 1-1 with Spanish side Real Madrid on Wednesday to advance to the final against Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate and ensure a bumper payday in TV rights and further prize money, said they were looking into to the case.
“We are working in order to press the partner... to solve different problems, because this is not our way to work,” the club said in a statement.
“We do not just give the brand, but we work closely with the partner.”
Soccer schools associated with European clubs are big business in Singapore. Fees frequently run into the thousands.
But one unnamed parent of a Juventus Soccer School trainee said the experience had put them off renewing, having already paid S$1,200 up front.
“This is not good for Juventus in fact its a disgrace to the name. We’ve paid in advance for six months and I seriously doubt I will extend my son’s participation.”
Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by John O'Brien