• Last year players delayed games to protest working conditions
  • 1,784 Brazilians play abroad, 800 more than No. 2 Argentina

More than 80 percent of Brazil’s professional soccer players live on less than $252 per month, marginally above the country’s minimum wage, according to data released today by Brazil’s soccer federation, known as the CBF.

The majority of teams in Brazil’s top league failed to pay salaries on time last year, a recurring theme in a country where even the biggest clubs are weighed down by unpaid debts. Brazil’s minimum wage is 880 reais ($221.5), and 82.4 percent of soccer players earn less than 1,000 reais, the data showed.

The CBF analyzed the incomes of 28,203 players. Only one player earned more than 500,000 reais ($125,850) per month, an average salary for top players in Europe, the Middle East and, increasingly, China.

QuickTake Brazil's Highs and Lows

The relative poverty of Brazilian soccer helps explain why hundreds of players choose to play overseas each year. According to a report by Swiss-based CIES Football Observatory in October, Brazil has 1,784 overseas-based players, about 800 more than the second-biggest exporter Argentina.

Last year several club games were delayed as players protested their working conditions by standing still after after referees blew their whistles to start matches.

“FIFPro regularly sees players being mistreated by clubs. They are not paid on time -- or at all -- and receive unfair treatment at football tribunals,” global players union FIFPro said via an e-mailed statement.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE