England and Premier League footballers are dismayed by the security arrangements made for them by their clubs with players even ready to have safety measures written into their contracts.
Raheem Sterling had to return to England from the World Cup after his family home was burgled, which has once again highlighted how footballers are being targeted by organised criminal gangs and prompted some of his worried international team-mates to put their own security guards on 24-hour red alert while they are in Qatar.
At least four Chelsea players have been burgled over the past year or so, while Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool players have all faced similar problems.
Telegraph Sport revealed that players are now going to extreme lengths to try to protect themselves, with some installing panic rooms into their homes and others redirecting deliveries and asking workmen to sign non-disclosure agreements to try to protect their identities and addresses.
But it has also emerged that players do not feel they are receiving enough protection, support and advice from their clubs, with some stars even ready to try to start negotiating safety packages into their contracts in order to force the hand of their employers.
Telegraph Sport spoke to the agent of a player who has been the victim of security issues, who said: “If the club does not start offering some practical help then it will be something that gets raised in contract negotiations. It might be the only way to guarantee clubs take it seriously.”
Another source, who asked for the player to remain anonymous, said: “One very famous player at a big Premier League club was having problems with people approaching his property and hanging around outside, so the club offered to arrange some security guards for him.
“The two lads who turned up looked about 17, so the player ended up finding and paying for an outside firm who did it properly. Paying for the security himself was not a problem, but he thought the club would arrange something far more professional.”
Other than having their properties burgled, players have also been followed out of training grounds with their vehicles targeted by criminals.
Telegraph Sport has been told a big, top-flight club has offered advice to their players over the danger of being followed out of the training ground, but have done nothing to stop people congregating at the exit to take pictures of them in their vehicles which often appear on social media with their number plates in full view.
A source connected to the club said: “The players have been given one talk, but there is very little or no duty of care regarding their safety or the safety of their families. People are still taking pictures of their cars and they have not received any practical help in protecting their homes or trustworthy and reliable firms who could help them.”
Alex Bomberg, chairman of Intelligent Protection International, told Telegraph Sport that he fears a Premier League footballer could get killed if security is not taken more seriously.
“In Europe, with high-profile people and footballers it is taken more seriously,” he said. “Some of the failures are low-level failures as people have been ill-advised. It is not about throwing money at it, it is the layers of security working and interacting with each other rather than being disjointed.”
In 1999, the ex-Beatle George Harrison was attacked by an intruder in his Oxfordshire home and Bomberg added: “'It is how someone might get killed. There was an attack on George Harrison and they both ended up in a fight with the intruder and that was 30 years ago. You have to learn from these things.
'It is only a matter of time before it happens, especially as we are going into a recession it is going to be more difficult for people. Security should be on the agenda of every single board of every single football team. It shouldn’t be something you do after an incident. Be proactive, not reactive.'"