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Relief for players from bankrupt clubs

BOITUMELO KHUTSAFALO
Local players from clubs facing insolvency will now sleep a little easier following the launch of a new fund to assist affected individuals this week.

Most local sides are struggling to pay players and face insolvency players.

But in the event of bankruptcy, players would now get compensation from world soccer governing body, FIFA and global players’ union, FIFPro. The two organisations have agreed to set up a fund which will compensate players whose clubs are unable to meet their financial obligations. The FIFA Fund for Football Players (FIFA FFP) will assist the affected players whose teams have been declared bankrupt and have shut down.  Although the situation has not yet reached local football, several local sides have struggled to meet their contractual obligations with players regarding payment of wages.  Many of those teams however can only face the wrath of administrators for flouting Club Licencing requirements. Litigation is through the Dispute Resolution Chamber. The newly established fund will, according to Footballers Union of Botswana (FUB) secretary general, Kgosana Masaseng only benefit players whose teams have been declared insolvent.

 “It will just be for players whose teams are no longer in existence. For those that still owe players and in existence, they fall under Club Licencing requirements and must pay players as agreed in the contract. Additionally, such cases will still be taken before the Dispute Resolution Chamber for adjudication. For this one, the fund is specifically for players whose teams have folded up while they still owe these players,” Masaseng explained.  He however said the fund does not mean the players would receive

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the full amount owed. A panel made up of two representatives from FIFPro and two others from FIFA would assess the applications and then award compensation to players on a case-by-case basis.

Masaseng added that affected players apply through their local unions who would then advance reasons as to why their players need assistance.  Following an escalating number of cases involving non-payment of players by football clubs across the world, FIFA and FIFPR teamed up to set up a fund as a means to protect the affected individuals.

FIFA has reportedly set aside $16 million (P175 498 000) for the fund up to 2022, with the allocation to be divided as follows: $3m (P32,908,123) in 2020, $4m (P43,877,927) in 2021, another $4m (43,877,927) in 2022, plus a further $5m (P54,847,836) set aside for the protection of players’ salaries for the period between July 2015 and June 2020.

FIFPRO’s own 2016 Global Employment Report has attested to the increase of cases involving the non-payment of players’ salaries across the world.

Both FIFA and FIFPRO presidents, Gianni Infantino and Philippe Piat have respectively welcomed the new initiative, which they said would help provide valuable support and families affected. Piat expressed concern over a trend in which some clubs shut down to avoid paying outstanding wages to players only to re-form as new clubs. 

Meanwhile, FUB will celebrate its 10-year anniversary this year, coinciding with the FIFPro Africa Congress, which Botswana hosts.



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