‘Player dispute cases should be expedited’

BY FORTUNE MBELE

SOUTH African Premier Soccer League (PSL) legal counsel Michael Murphy says player transfer disputes must be quickly dealt with and finalised so that the affected parties are not disadvantaged.

Murphy was speaking at the PSL international symposium held in the resort town of Victoria Falls last week.

The lawyer said the main reason player transfer disputes end up in court, where they take long to be heard, was that most football-governing bodies have no definite dispute resolution mechanisms that deal with such cases.

“One of the reasons why we have this system that impacts unfairly on players is because we don’t have a dispute resolution body that can hear their case so, therefore, the matter goes to court and is set aside,” Murphy said.

For example, FC Platinum player Lawrence Mhlanga spent two years inactive due to a player ownership wrangle between his club and former team Chicken Inn before the Zifa players status committee intervened.

Chicken Inn challenged the decision on the basis that it was not done by the relevant committee and also cited a number of irregularities, including the fact that they were not given a chance to make their submissions.

However, Zifa stamped their authority and maintained that Chicken Inn had arbitrarily held onto the player’s clearance.

Murphy also said it was common practice in South Africa for clubs to hold onto a player’s clearance and that could affect the player.

“In South Africa, the holding back of clearances (for players) was common practice and was in Europe until 1995, but at least there I imagine there were still payments to the players concerned. It was common to just hold back the clearance. They would just say he can’t go; don’t give him the clearance. Everything must just be urgent. There is no use if a player will get is clearance in two years; that might be too late,” the legal expert said.

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