A Challenge to Soccer’s Version of Solitary Confinement

In Poland, training alone is so common it even has a nickname: the Coconut Club, named after Daniel Kokosinski, a player who endured the treatment in 2009. (Kokos means coconut in Polish.)

In Mr. Plaku’s case, he said he was forced to train three times a day (alone, and often without time to eat between sessions); required to do excessive running; fined thousands of euros if he was even 30 seconds late for a training session; and made to take part in demeaning activities like changing in the boys teams’ locker room or standing in the city center for hours to hand out newspapers.

Slask Wroclaw, which is based in southwest Poland, has defended its actions by saying that Mr. Plaku’s fitness was not sufficient for him to be a part of its top team any longer. (Mr. Plaku, 30, who is currently playing for a first-division club in Albania, dismissed that claim as “ridiculous.”)

Slask Wroclaw’s president, Pawel Zelem, did not respond to questions about his involvement in the case. Krzysztof Swiercz, a spokesman for Slask Wroclaw, agreed to a brief telephone interview in which he said that the club had “nothing to blame ourselves for.”

“There are many professional…

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