Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
FOOTBALLERS Union of Zimbabwe (Fuz) and local agents have challenged clubs to take a proactive approach and engage players whose contracts have lapsed instead of waiting for guidance from Zifa.
Local clubs and players are in a dilemma and don’t know what to do following the expiry of contracts of some players at the end of June.
Highlanders’ pair of midfielder Brian Banda and striker Tinashe Makanda are among players whose contracts expired on June 30.
Zifa is yet to communicate a raft of Fifa guidelines to its affiliates on player movement.
Fifa guidelines are silent on contracts that expire during the course of the season, leaving local clubs and players exposed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fifa guidelines seem to favour leagues aligned to the world football governing body’s calendar that were already underway when Covid-19 struck.
On expiring and commencing contracts, part of Fifa guidelines read: “Expiring player contracts usually end when the season ends, with a termination date that coincides with the end of the season. With the current suspension of play in most countries, it is now obvious that the current season will not end when people thought it would.
“Therefore, it is proposed that contracts be extended until such time that the season does actually end. This should be in line with the original intention of the parties when the contract was signed and should also preserve sporting integrity and stability. A similar principle applies to contracts due to begin when the new season starts, meaning the entry into force of such contracts is delayed until the next season actually does start.”
Player intermediary Daly Bhebhe said the Zimbabwean situation is complex in that the league hadn’t kicked off due to the Covid-19 pandemic and requires both players and clubs to negotiate.
“It’s a bit tricky because it depends on whether the club is still paying the player after the lapse of his contract because this shows commitment to renew the contract. If the club stops paying salaries, then it shows the club does not want to renew it.
“The other problem is that there’s no communication from Zifa, PSL or SRC about the way forward, leaving everything to speculation. But if players aren’t being paid, the best way is to start looking for another club,” said Bhebhe.
Another player agent Sanangurayi Mushove said players and clubs should not wait for contracts to end before agreeing on an extension.
“You can negotiate prior to the expiry of a contract, but if they (club) are not willing to extend, you can negotiate with other teams as long as they are interested in the services of a player. What is key is for all parties to be truthful to one another, because from a player’s perspective if the club is silent about extension it means they no longer require your services. While we appreciate that Fifa sets guidelines, but that doesn’t stop clubs from negotiating with players because even in Europe, they are negotiating with players,” said Mushove.
He applauded clubs for remunerating players at a time when there are no footballing activities.
Fuz secretary-general Thomas Sweswe said: “Players can negotiate with other clubs since their contracts have lapsed. There is formal communication from Fifa on contracts that are ending and clubs need to sit down and agree with players on the way forward.” – @ZililoR