Clubs that fail to pay players for two consecutive months face the risk of players terminating their contracts as Federation of International Football Associations (Fifa) has amended its regulations to give footballers more freedom.
According to a communique Fifa has circulated to its member associations, including the Football Association of Malawi (FAM), the amended Regulations and Status of Player Transfers will come into force on June 1 this year.
Key among the amendment is Article 14 which has been changed to give players freedom to terminate a contract and find another club if not paid for two months.
The Fifa communication reads: “In particular, Article 14 of the regulations has been amended to include a new paragraph concerning abusing situations where the stance of the party is intended to force the counterpart to change the terms of the contract.”
“Art. 14 b now includes outstanding salaries (2+ months).” It adds.
The new amendments through Article 17 demands that the club compensates players who terminate the contracts over salary nonpayment.
“…if the player has in the meantime found a new club prior to the Fifa decision. However, “Additional Compensation” (3 to 6 monthly salaries) is owed by the club if the breach is due to overdue payables,” Fifa says.
FAM transfer matching systems manager Casper Jangale said the amendments will push clubs to honour players salaries as agreed in their contracts.
“Clubs will fear running the risk of losing most of their players for free while the season is in progress. So, the rules are good for players,” he said.
Azam Tigers chairperson Sydney Chikoti said the amendments will bring sanity to local football as clubs will be forced to operate within the bounds of their means.
“We have seen the so called big clubs signing players from small ones by promising them astronomical salaries which they fail to honour. With the new rules they will be afraid of making empty promises for fear of losing them if they are not paid, “ he said.
Silver Strikers general secretary Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda also welcomed the amendments, saying some clubs treat players badly.
“We will now see players being paid on time or the clubs face the consequences. We are in full support of these amendments,” he said.
The Football Players Association (FPA) general secretary Ernest Mangani said the new rules will ensure players of financial stability.
“This is a very important provision. Players will enjoy contracts that give them job security; hence, motivating them to apply themselves fully to their game. Apart from that teams will enjoy good conduct from employees,” he said.
To fully understand Fifa and contractual rules and application, Mangani urged footballers to join the association.
“The important thing is for players to become members of FPA so that they are given regular advice by the FPA on provisions in their contracts before signing and after signing. Our players need consistent civic education so that there is sanity in the football industry,” he said.