Zifa pave way for PSL resumption Xolisani Gwesela

Eddie Chikamhi

Senior Sports Reporter

THE start of the domestic Premiership, after more than a year of inactivity, is now set after ZIFA stepped in to douse the transfer disputes between clubs.

The association provided clarification on the guidelines on expired contracts.

The Premiership last week secured sponsorship for the Chibuku Super Cup, which gets the season underway this weekend.

But, there has been a cold war raging between clubs, over the issue of contracts, which expired last year.

Some clubs are not happy they signed players, and provided their upkeep for a year, without getting a return on their investments.

There was no competitive football last year on the domestic front.

The disputes have also drawn the attention of the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe and their parent body, the International Federation of Professional Footballers.

ZIFA spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, yesterday said their guidelines should not be misconstrued for rules to avoid clashes between clubs and players.

He said the guidelines were meant to assist clubs, and players, deal with the complex situation that resulted from coronavirus lockdowns.

“As ZIFA, we do not interfere in labour disputes between clubs and their employees,’’ said Gwesela.

“We are still using the guidelines that we drafted from a FIFA document.

“It is important to know that these are just guidelines, meant to help clubs find solutions to the complex problem, created by the emergency of Covid-19.

“These guidelines are not binding, in terms of law, they are just guidelines to assist the concerned parties.”

The PSL clubs agreed at their AGM for compensation to be provided before clearance of players.

Dynamos have seen their efforts to bring in veteran forward, Newman Sianchali, frustrated by rivals CAPS United.

The Green Machine are demanding compensation for the investment they made in the forward.

Bulawayo Chiefs are also demanding compensation before clearing national team fringe player, Shadreck Nyahwa, while Chicken Inn are refusing to release Valentine Kadonzvo to Ngezi Platinum Stars.

Midfielder Innocent Mucheneka’s move to FC Platinum is also under threat.

Muchaneka signed for CAPS United last year but did not feature for them before he decided to move on this year.

“We encourage them to reach mutual understanding in whatever decision they take,’’ said Gwesela.

“The key is negotiation and, if any party feels aggrieved after the negotiations, they are free to approach the ZIFA Player Status Committee.

“We have been in discussion, with the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe over the matter, and we have referred them to the guidelines.

These guidelines are not law.

“It’s unfortunate that Covid-19 created a lot of complexities, in as far as the contracts issue is concerned, but the only way out can be found through negotiations.”

Premiership clubs are set to get the ball rolling, for the first time in over a year, this Saturday.

Gwesela said clubs should refer to the guidelines which state that:

“The Zimbabwe Football Association recognises the privacy of contracts entered into between clubs and players.

“The need to abide by the terms and obligations of the material terms of the contracts cannot be overemphasised.

“These guidelines are subject to any other mutual agreement or arrangement that parties might have agreed on.

“Parties are encouraged, where possible to have a mutual agreement that is beneficial to all parties concerned.

“The guidelines provided hereunder are meant to provide a general guideline on how the contractual issues are to be governed during the Covid-19 pandemic era.’’

(a) Where an agreement is due to expire at the original end date of the season, such expiry be extended until the new end date of the season, or alternatively, in the event that the 2020 season is called off, the end date of the next ensuing season.

(b) Loan transfer agreements, which are due to expire at the original end date of the season are extended, until the new end date of the season, or alternatively, in the event that the 2020 season is called off, the end date of the next ensuing season.

(c) Employment contracts which are due to commence at the mid-season break are extended to expire at the new mid-season break to be set by the governing relevant ZIFA affiliates.

(d) Where an agreement is due to continue at the original start date of a new season, such commencement be delayed until the new start date of a new season.

(e) Notwithstanding the aforementioned recommendations, parties are to abide by the contractual obligations in respect to payment of the agreed salaries, and other payments due to the players during the subsistence of the contract.”

Footballers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general, Thomas Sweswe, urged clubs to respect the terms of contracts they entered to with the players.

“Whatever the arrangement or agreement they made, or the compensation they are talking about, they can do it in their closed doors.

“Rules remain rules, once a contract expires, one is free to go.

“As long as a player says he is being deprived the opportunity to go and play somewhere, and has not been cleared, then that becomes violation,” said Sweswe.

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