Some Silver Strikers players signed contracts that give the club the power to decide which club they can join even after they are released as free agents, The Nation has learnt.
This is in conflict with Fifa regulations on players’ transfers and status that state that upon expiry of a contract, and once released as a free agent, a player can join a club of his choice.
But Silver general secretary Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda yesterday insisted that the club’s players have to seek approval for a club they want to join despite being free agents.
He said: “This is what the contracts provide for. We have preemption rights over the players, which is perfectly in order. The clauses bind both the player and us. You may have heard about buy-back clauses for La Liga and English Premier League players. This was the mutual intention of the parties when the contracts were signed. It is perfectly legal. Every person has the freedom to contract and his freedom to contract ought to be respected.”
But Football Association of Malawi (FAM) players transfer matching system manager Casper Jangale said the clause in Silver players’ contracts is ‘invalid’.
“Once a player’s contract has expired and he has been declared a free agent, they are free as a bird,” he said.
Jangale cited the ‘Bosman Ruling’ by European Court of Justice in 1995 concerning freedom of movement for workers and freedom of association, as the benchmark.
In the case, Jean-Marc Bosman a player for RFC Liège in the Belgian First Division, was stopped from moving to a French team Dunkerque when his contract expired in 1990.
The player took his case to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg and sued for restraint of trade.
The court ruled that the club was in breach of Article 39(1) of the EC Treaty.
The ruling gave Bosman and all football players the right to a free transfer to a club of their choice at the end of their contracts.
But Chakaka-Nyirenda said Silver only exercises the right of first refusal and the need for a club interested in the free agent player to first consult them.
The revelation that former Silver players have to seek permission on which club they can join, comes at a time when the Bankers brought into play the clause after captain Lucky Malata left the club as a free agent.
The player was released after the Bankers failed to meet Malata’s demand of K5 million signing on fee when renewing his contract.
He has since been linked with Be Forward Wanderers.
Wanderers vice-general secretary Christopher Kananji last week confirmed the Nomads interest in the player and that they are still negotiating with Malata.
Chakaka-Nyirenda said they had given the player consent to join Wanderers.
“He verbally told us that Wanderers have offered him K6 million signing on fee,” he said. n