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Clubs risk contractual woes

Bullets,Silver in action

TNM Super League clubs could feel the pinch of extending contracts for coaches and players should the 2020 season get nullified due to Covid-19 pandemic. The Football Association of Malawi (Fam) taskforce presented a report to the Executive Committee through a visual conference on Monday which among other recommendations includes nullifying the season if the sports ban goes beyond September this year.

However, the taskforce did not come up with proper recommendations on the issue of contracts for players and coaches despite Fifa providing guidelines on the contracts during the Covid-19 period. Majority of the local players and coaches have one year contracts which were due to expire by in December this year. For instance, Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers, who employed expatriate coaches are likely to be in a tight spot to negotiate new deals for the two mentors if football ban gets beyond September.

Bullets extended the deal for Zimbabwean coach Kallisto Pasuwa for one year whereas Silver employed Zambian Daniel Kabwe on a two-year contract. In an interview, Bullets Chief Administrator, Albert Chigoga said they would be guided by Fifa rules and regulations regarding contracts for players and coaching staff.

“Fifa gave us guidelines on such scenarios. It means everyone will be affected in one way or another so the best way is to follow guidelines,” Chigoga said.

Contracts battle is likely looming should the 2020 season gets nullified. Some clubs are still fulfilling their contractual obligations by paying the salaries but the players are idle as football is halted due to the pandemic. But Pasuwa and Kabwe were not readily available r their comments yesterday.

Be Forward Wanderers General Secretary, Victor Maunde said the issues of players contracts needs a serious approach, should the season get lost.

“As a club, we are paying our players which means we are not in breach of the contracts. But the issue would be handled properly in consultation with Fam and other stakeholders,” Maunde said.

Wanderers extended deals for majority of the players last month including signing new players such as Lughano Kayira, Juma Yatina whereas Peter Wadabwa rejoined the side. Local football analyst, George Kaudza Masina said the clubs were in tricky situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “Contracts are very tricky. It will be up to the parties involved to discuss the matter. But the contracts for the players and coaches are running,” Kaudza Masina said.

According to Fifa, Article 27 of the RSTP states that cases of force majoure shall be decided by the Fifa Council, whose decisions are final. The Covid-19 situation is per se a case of force majoure for Fifa and football. Fifa has given guidance on the following issues, expiring agreements (i.e agreements terminating at the end of the current season) and new agreements (i.e. those already signed and due to commence at the start of the next season).

Agreements that cannot be performed as the parties originally anticipated as result of Covid-19 and the appropriate timing for registration periods (transfer window). The taskforce recommended that the Player Status Committee in consultation with the right stakeholder should look at the recommendations and adopt the ones that are practical for our local scenario.

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