PSL clubs in contracts dilemma

BY FORTUNE MBELE

HIGHLANDERS and Chicken Inn are among clubs waiting for communication from Zifa and the Premier Soccer League to decide on the future of their players whose contracts end on June 30.

The start to the 2020 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season was suspended in March owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and it is still uncertain when activity will resume.

Fifa have, however, issued a raft of guidelines to be followed post the COVID-19 pandemic which Zifa have not communicated to their affiliates.

Bulawayo giants Highlanders have contracts for midfielder Brian Banda and striker Tinashe Makanda which are expiring at the end of the month, while one of the GameCocks’ goalkeepers Samuel Mafukidze also has his contract coming to an end.

The same scenario could be affecting several clubs in the top league and the lower leagues.

A number of leagues globally have resumed after they were suspended in March.

Highlanders spokesperson Ronald Moyo said their hands were tied regarding the player contracts issue.

“It’s beyond the club. I think Zifa and PSL are the right institutions to talk to. It’s beyond Highlanders. Most clubs are facing the same predicament. Highlanders will only be guided by Zifa and PSL on the way forward,” Moyo said.

Chicken Inn secretary Tavengwa Hara said Mafukidze had, however, agreed to a contract extension, but the club had put on hold further engagements until they get official communication from Zifa.

“We are hoping that PSL or Zifa will take the Fifa recommendation that the contracts should start operating from the date the season starts. Since there are now standard contracts, we will wait to hear from the owners and drafters of the contracts. But our goalkeeper had accepted a contract extension although we are to engage him as we wait to hear from the authorities,” Hara said.

Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela referred NewsDay Sport to the Fifa guidelines to address legal consequences of COVID-19 which were set in April, but clubs say they have not received official communication from the national football governing body.

On expiring and commencing contracts, the Fifa guidelines made a proposal for player contracts to be flexible in view of the obtaining COVID-19 scourge.

“Expiring player contracts usually end when the season ends, with a termination date that coincides with the end of the season. With the current suspension of play in most countries, it is now obvious that the current season will not end when people thought it would. Therefore, it is proposed that contracts be extended until such time that the season does actually end. This should be in line with the original intention of the parties when the contract was signed and should also preserve sporting integrity and stability. A similar principle applies to contracts due to begin when the new season starts, meaning the entry into force of such contracts is delayed until the next season actually does start,” read part of the Fifa guidelines.

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