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I signed deal under duress—Blessings Tembo

Attacking midfielder Blessings Tembo has—for all his vast football experience—made a sensational claim that Be Forward Wanderers forced him to sign a three-year contract, following the expiry of his contract with Silver Strikers.
Tembo’s u-turn could compromise his career as, as per Fifa’s rules, he cannot play for any other team—apart from Wanderers—as that could constitute breach of contract.
The former Silver captain has asked for the termination of the deal with Wanderers—two days after putting pen to paper— claiming that he did not scrutinise the agreement properly.
“I would like to inform you that I am wilfully and willingly withdrawing and terminating the contract I signed between myself and Wanderers dated December 31 2017. I signed the contract under duress without reading and understudying all the terms of the agreement,” reads part of the letter which Tembo signed on Tuesday.
“I have done this on the same day I was asked to sign the agreement and there have been no financial executions on both sides, and my decision should be respected for the good of football in Malawi.”
The winger is sane and he is an adult; hence, in law, his argument that he signed the contract under duress does not hold water. In law, ignorance is no defence.
Furthermore, Fifa’s rules and regulations, Article 17, state that unilateral termination of a contract is only permissible when there is a just cause ( either playing less than 10 percent of games in a season or over unpaid dues).
“If a contract is terminated without just cause, the person in breach will have to pay compensation. Generally, when calculating the level of compensation, the law of the country concerned and the specific city of sport will be considered.
“Other criteria which will be taken into account will be the player’s pay and benefits due under the existing contract and/or the new contract, the time remaining on the existing contract up to a maximum of five years, the fees and expenses paid or incurred by the former club and whether the contractual breach falls within a ‘protected period’,” www.fifa.com states.
Tembo’s Manager, Jimmy Linje, yesterday admitted that his client belongs to Wanderers, but he was looking for proper mediation process.
He feared that the issue could affect Tembo’s career.
“It is a fact that he (Blessings) is a Wanderers’ player at the moment. He, indeed, signed the contract with Wanderers. He has no contract with Silver, but because he has reversed his decision, we want to discuss with Wanderers,” Linje said.
“We are confident that we will reach an agreement with Wanderers so that we can compensate them. His family is based in Lilongwe so, he wants to remain at Silver.”
Linje’s position contradicts that of Silver interim General Secretary, Thabo Nyirenda, who, despite telling the press earlier that the player’s contract was expiring in 2017 and that they were discussing for a renewal, has now claimed that Tembo’s deal would expire on June 30 2018.
In response on Tuesday evening, Wanderers General Secretary, Mike Butao, said Tembo belongs to them.
“We were fully aware of the contents of Blessings’ contract with Silver which expired on December 24 2017 because we fully enquired before proceeding with the signing of the player. I would like to urge you to refrain from saying “Blessings signed Wanderers’ contract under duress” because of the criminal implications against which we might be forced to defend ourselves to protect our image,” Butao said.
Tembo is a talented attacking midfielder who helped Silver to win the Airtel Top 8 Cup after beating Wanderers 10-9 on post-match penalties at Bingu National Stadium.
Nyirenda has since written Football Association of Malawi (Fam) on the issue.
“The contract was, thus, signed by mistake. We have also been furnished with a copy of the letter from Blessings to Wanderers in which the former rescinded the contract based on several grounds, including glaring fundamental errors regarding commencement date and consideration, among others,” reads part of Nyirenda’s letter which The Daily Times has seen.
When contacted yesterday, Fam acting Competitions Manager, Casper Jangale, said the issue was between Wanderers and the player.
There is also confusion on who really represents Tembo as, apart from Linje, Juma Katswiri and Wesley Njete have also been claiming that the winger is their client.

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