The Gaborone United (GU) elders committee has blamed former club investor, Nicolas Zakhem and the previous committee led by Rapula Okaile for ignoring FIFA warning over the Bismarck Appiah case.
GU was charged US$39,500 (P400,000) by FIFA for failing to follow procedure in prematurely terminating the Ghanian player's contract.The player reported the club to the Department of Labour in January 2016 for unfair dismissal and The Reds were ordered to pay US$2, 143.60 (P23, 715) which Appiah had claimed.
Speaking at a press briefing held at Lekidi on Wednesday, the elders committee's Oarabile Kalaben said Zakhem and the then leadership, which included, Okaile and Lepholeta 'City' Senne, did not respond to the decision by the Labour office prompting the player, through his lawyer, to report the matter to FIFA.
He said following a series of letters from FIFA to GU, through the BFA, neither Zakhem and the then GU committee responded to the letters thus on September 26, 2016, FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber resolved without GU's representation that the club owed Appiah and the sum escalated to close to P440, 000.
The club was further charged Swiss CHF 5, 000.
"On April 21st, 2016 and May 11th, 2016 respectively, Appiah wrote to FIFA. On June 6, 2016, this was two years before we got into office, FIFA wrote to the BFA directing it to pass the letter of claim to GU. On June 8, 2016 BFA received the letter and passed it to GU. The letter among others invited GU to provide the football body with its position and any supporting evidence against the claim. GU was given until June 26 to respond. None of GU officials including Nicolas Zakhem, who was cited as respondent, reacted to the letter of claim. The player was now claiming US$39, 000 (P438, 888)," he said.
Kalaben also revealed that were given a final warning on April 3, after both Zakhem and Okaile had left their positions at the club. No immediate comment could be obtained from Okaile or Zakhem.Kalaben said it was after the last warning, that the then general manger, Olebile Sikwane, pleaded with FIFA for more time and came up with a proposed payment plan.
The plea was rejected and the Kalaben led committee only got involved in the matter after being voted into office on July 16. The committee asked for an extension, their request was also rejected and they were given a deadline of September 29 to pay the amount.
GU was however able to pay the sum through the help of the GU supporters and well-wishers. The money was paid in two installments on August 24 and September 7.