The Botswana Footballers Union has demanded clubs to respect their contractual obligations with players to eradicate situations where wages are not paid as well as the unfair dismissal of players by clubs, which is becoming a trending craze in local football.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with this publication; the union’s communications manager Kgosana Masaseng insistently spoke that although the contractual cases between players and clubs are declining they are now concerned about the manner in which teams are terminating player’s contracts for sketchy reasons.
“What we have realized is that teams are terminating their contracts with players for reasons of age and lack of game time or even failure to perform and live up to expectations,” said Masaseng.
He added that they have come to realise that teams tend to follow the labor law which is respectively the national law but somehow different in the way in which football handles such issues, and as a result, there is always a possibility of a deadlock between a player and the club.
Masaseng also urged players to respect their contracts with their employees in order to avoid any impediments during times like the transfer period.
“As FUB we encourage our players and clubs to negotiate in good faith so as to create a mutual understanding and agreement of all the details in the contracts. Interestingly, for the coming season we have structured a new contract template for our players which we will request teams to adhere to and thanks to certain clubs who have already shown interest and are willing to join in and use this template for the 2015/16 season,” explained Masaseng.
Employment disputes between professional football players and their clubs is now becoming a common trend in the local league. This may be attributed to ignorance on contract laws from both parties and arrogance from the employer clubs.
In many ways, these disputes highlight the lengths the parties are prepared to go, in order for them to achieve a solution, either by way of pre-mature termination of the contract of employment, compensation or reconciliation. Termination of a contract of employment in football is not a new-fangled concept in FIFA’s regulations.
Article 14 of the FIFA regulations on the status and transfer of players 2012 provides for the unilateral termination of the contract with ‘just cause’, provided the party opting out has a valid reason. Article 14 states; “A contract may be terminated by either party without consequences of any Kind (either payment of compensation or imposition of sporting sanctions) where there is just cause.”
Even though there is no standard definition of ‘just cause’, the application of such principles will rely on the merits and circumstances of a case, for instance a football player who has gone without pay for three months has a “just cause” to terminate his or her contract.
Of late the union helped former BDF X1 duo of Master Masitara and Vincent Nzombe after both players felt they were unfairly dismissed off their contracts by their then employees, BDF X1.
According to Masaseng they met with BDF X1 representatives in regards to the players’ contracts and after reciprocal talks both parties managed to find a common agreement of which the players were happy with hence the dispute has given way to that of cordiality.