Zifa, PSL, FUZ to thrash player disputes

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BY FORTUNE MBELE

ZIFA, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) are working on a player dispute resolution strategy to iron out issues among clubs to ensure a smooth resumption of football activity in the country next month.

The national football governing body’s spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela yesterday said Zifa, the PSL and FUZ were already in discussions following a Fifa course on dispute resolution attended by the three in 2019 and they were meeting to discuss a document that should be operationalised by next week.

Football activity was suspended in March last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and save for the Castle Challenge Cup between Highlanders and FC Platinum, there wasn’t any football action in the country, but there has been a movement of players and some clubs have indicated Fifa guidelines on the status of players were not adhered to.

Some players have made transfers without being cleared by their clubs as is the norm.

Gwesela said a dispute resolution chamber to deal with player disputes was on the cards.

“We are working on a dispute resolution chamber, which is a Fifa initiative. Zifa, PSL and FUZ attended a course in that regard in 2019. So we are working on it and actually have a working group involving the three stakeholders. We have to come up with guidelines and meet to finalise and then operationalise the document. By next week we will have a position,” he said.

PSL has also confirmed that Zifa has made overtures on the establishment of the dispute resolution chamber.

A prevailing case is that of midfielder Tichaona Chipunza, who was recently unveiled at Zambian side Nkana FC, and Chicken Inn have said the player belongs to them and was cleared by Zifa without going through due processes.

Chicken Inn maintain they notified Zifa not to clear Chipunza and also alerted FUZ.

During the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Highlanders lost two players in Tinashe Makanda and Brian Banda, whose contracts expired in June, but then, the Bulawayo giants said they were awaiting communication to spell out guidelines on the contracts of players following Fifa recommendations.

Sources have said FUZ has also complained that some clubs were making unilateral amendments to player standard contracts.

Meanwhile, PSL spokesperson Kudzai Bare said two clubs, giants Highlanders and Dynamos, would conclude their COVID-19 testing programmes for players and officials at the weekend and all clubs were expected to be in full group training next week.

She said club administrators were expected to process all documents pertaining to player registration so that outstanding issues were attended to on time before the cluster competition due to start next month gets underway.

“Teams should by now have started training. Others have actually started training with 16 clubs having already done their COVID-19 tests. Highlanders and Dynamos should be done by the weekend. We expect administrators to process all their registration documents so that queries are dealt with expeditiously,” Bare said.

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