Football union boss Gordon Taylor has disputed reports that three out of five former Premier League players go bankrupt.
But Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, has warned players they need to plan for the future to avoid financial difficulties when they stop playing.
Taylor believes the number of ex-players going bankrupt is somewhere between 10% and 20% and wants players to look to organisations like the PFA before they encounter problems.
Taylor told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Footballers, with very few exceptions, aren’t going to earn as much money when they finish playing.
“We encourage young players to save for the future, for when they retire.”
A report in The UK's Independent newspaper refers to research by XPro, a charity for ex-players, suggesting that three out of five Premier League players declare bankruptcy within five years of retirement, figures Taylor disputes.
He said: “The fact is, as regards them going bankrupt, it’s nothing like those figures (three out of every five).”
Taylor believes advisers and some agents are drawn by high salaries paid to players and many are badly advised.
Taylor added: “I have to be careful what I say about agents, but they are there during the good times and they’re a bit like butterflies in the bad times.
“All the players come on to the PFA for advice when things have gone badly wrong.
“It is about saving, it’s about being sensible, it’s about being careful, it’s about not expecting to have the same lifestyle.
“It’s not everybody that can adapt. That exit strategy is quite important.”
Taylor pointed to former player Paul Gascoigne who has struggled to cope since retiring from the game and suffered with alcoholism and health problems.
“A prime example would be the likes of Paul Gascoigne who found it very difficult to adjust to life after football.”
Taylor said players should take PFA courses on work in the media and other trades as alternative employment as not all would find jobs as managers or coaches.