Players must respect contracts

THE Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (Fuz) yesterday urged players to respect their contracts and be honest in their dealings with clubs interested in their services.

Thomas Sweswe, the Fuz secretary-general, said to avoid being entangled in player wrangles, footballers have to negotiate in good faith and notify those interested in their services if they have running contracts.

“While others are off-season, this is the busiest period in football because we have players moving and being signed by clubs in preparation for the new season. We are therefore as Fuz calling on all footballers to respect their contracts and not lie that they are uncontracted as that is fraud. We know during off-season players are looking for money and searching for better opportunities but our message is that players must be honest. We also encourage clubs interested in players to verify if a player is contracted or not,” said Sweswe.

The former Zimbabwe international who had successful playing stints with South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs as well as local giants Highlanders and Dynamos, also advised players to “thoroughly” read contracts before signing.

“Footballers should be careful and must understand terms of their contracts before signing. If you don’t understand the contract, as Fuz we’re here to assist for free. Clubs might put pressure on players wanting them to sign but what we are saying is that as a player you need to take time and be patient before getting yourself into a deal you don’t understand.  Know your value as a player because if you are surely talented and believe in your God-given talent, you will not be forced into something you don’t understand.”

Sweswe said some clubs had “unscrupulous” clauses which state that if a player is left with six-months and doesn’t approach the team management for contract renewal, the player would automatically have renewed the deal.

“I think there’s abuse of the first refusal clause and some add funny clauses that say if one doesn’t approach the club with six months left, automatically he would have renewed the contract. That’s absurd and it’s exploiting players. Clubs must be fair and that is why we keep emphasising to players that they should read their contracts, understand  and if there are challenges we are there to help,” he said.

Sweswe also warned players against engaging “fly by night” agents and managers, who only pop up when the player signs and disappear during the course of the season when players need them for advice.

Some clubs have even shut doors on players represented by agents or managers, preferring to directly deal with players, something that Fuz feel is meant to exploit footballers. — @ZililoR

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