Escom United have threatened to bar Big Bullets from featuring Chimango Kaira, James Chilapondwa and Heston Munthali over unpaid transfer fees.
Escom chairperson Fanuel Nkhono, whose decision to release the players resulted in the team’s relegation from the Super League last season, claimed Bullets have failed to pay K3.5 million (about $8 750), K1 million (about $2 500) and K1.5 million (about $3 750) for Kaira, Chilapondwa and Munthali respectively.
“The loan period expired on August 31 2012 and we only allowed them to use the players up to the end of last season. Higger Mkandawire [Bullets general secretary] consented to the loan agreement and we have the copies,” he said.
“Bullets gave us a K1 million [about $2 500] cheque and when we asked them to tell us which player the money was meant for, they said it was for all of them and we rejected it. Now the players belong to us. We will tell Sulom to tell Bullets to stop using the players.”
Fifa players’ status says a loan period lasts between two player’s registration windows.
Mkandawire blamed Escom for rushing to the media when the two parties are still discussing, arguing, “We are bargaining as we feel James and Heston’s fees are on the higher side. We had no money when these players joined and we are in no way undermining Escom.”
Escom are the third club within this week to complain over irregular players’ transfers which exposes flaws in Super League of Malawi (Sulom) handling of the such deals.
Nkhono described the whole system as corrupt, saying Sulom rushes to clear players.
“Once clearance is issued, ownership changes. Sulom clears once consent has been granted by the previous club. I advise them [Bullets and Escom] to resort to contact and dialogue, considering that the players have stayed for over a year and what remains are outstanding dues,” Sulom general secretary Williams Banda said.
In the absence of written contracts, Escom might have gambled on the ownership of the players, according to Fifa regulations on players’ status.
The three Escom players claim to have had no written contracts with Escom and that they were fired, hence rendering them free agents.
“A professional may be loaned to another club on the basis of a written agreement between him and the clubs concerned,” reads www.fifa.com.
Nkhono insisted that the status of the three players reverts to Escom in view of the expiry of their loan periods. He claimed to have found a market for the three players.
But Fifa says “the club that has accepted a player on a loan basis is not entitled to transfer him to a third club without the written authorisation of the club that released the player on loan and the player concerned.”