Soccer in El Salvador is an escape valve without economic development
The El Salvador national team dreams of returning to a FIFA World Cup, but the reality is that there is no economic development to help the youth.
The last time El Salvador qualified for a FIFA World Cup was in 1982 and in that campaign they lost all three games during the group stage. Since then they have fought in the qualifiers in CONCACAF, but they always fall short, failing to compete with other countries for a top four finish.
The money is not distributed fairly
There is light at the end of the tunnel for La Selecta because they have a real good chance to qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Since the United States, Mexico and Canada will be co-hosts, they will not participate in the qualifiers in CONCACAF, which opens the door for more teams in the area to qualify for the biggest event in the world.
So the El Salvador national team has to start working now and plan for the next qualifiers. But it will be a difficult road because of how the football federation works in that country. Soccer is seen as an escape valve without economic development and there is no freedom of expression when talking about the football federation.
“The current political climate in El Salvador is quite dark and nebulous. There is no freedom of expression regarding the football federation and at the end soccer is seen as an escape valve, but there are no real economic incentives for players and coaches,” said Salvadoran journalist Robin Ruud during an interview with El Economista.
Also the money that comes into the football federation is not evenly distributed to the clubs, players and coaches. “The people in charge are not prepared for the job and at the end they don’t distribute fairly or evenly the money that comes in. That is a problem because the clubs and the national team don’t see a lot of that money to keep developing and improving,” added Rudd.
How much money do players earn?
A player in the El Salvador top flight earns between $400 and $3,500 a month and a lot of the clubs don’t pay on time because they don’t have the money. So at times players have no economic incentive and soccer becomes an escape valve for them. The biggest clubs like FAS, Firpo and Santa Tecla owe money to their players and this creates a problem for everyone and halts the development of the sport in El Salvador.
“If you play soccer that is your job, but when you don’t get paid in time then it becomes a problem,” said Rudd. Last week the players at Chalatenango released a statement confirming that they haven’t received any payments in the past two months and the people in charge acted quickly to pay them their salary. This is one of the biggest problems that prevent the development and improvement of soccer in El Salvador