South African authorities must respect players rights
Wednesday 06 March
FIFPro Division Africa urges South African football club FC AK and the South African Premier League to respect the rights of the professional footballers. The FC AK players are on strike due to non-payment of their salaries. However, the league appears to approve the misconduct of the FC AK management.
The players of FC AK decided two weeks ago that they would refuse to play matches for their club FC AK until the management pays the salaries they are owed: ‘No Pay, No Play’. Some of the players have not been paid for five months or more, which is a great problem as players in the country’s First Division (second professional level) are playing on modest or small contracts.
The players refused to play against Witbank Spurs on Wednesday February 20th and Mpumalanga on March 2nd. The game against Witbank was postponed, but the match against Mpumalanga went ahead. The FC AK management brought in new players to be able to play that game and the League allowed to register those players.
From both FC AK and the League this is an outrageous act of disrespect of the players from FC AK who have not been paid for almost half a year.
Respect of contract is the main condition for playing professional football. The FC AK players did their part of the job: they respected their contract by going to training and by playing the matches. However, the FC AK management fails to live up to their task: pay the players for the services they have rendered. They have already failed for more than five months.
Also, the question arises whether FC AK has paid the players who appeared last Saturday to replace the players who are on strike.
FIFPro Division Africa fully supports the South African Football Players Union (SAFPU) and all FC AK players involved in their logical and objective demands: payment of their salaries. FIFPro Division Africa urges FC AK and all other South African clubs to respect the players rights and competition.
Stéphane Burchkalter, secretary general of FIFPro Division Africa: ‘Nowadays in professional football, supporters, authorities and football institutions put pressure on footballers in terms of image and duties. Footballers understand their obligations. But footballers also have rights as workers: the players must be paid for the services that they have rendered.’
‘In terms of integrity, it is also the responsibility of the League to force the clubs to respect the contracts they have signed with players’, Burchkalter continues. ‘Therefore, FIFPro Division Africa asks for the National Association and the League to force the club to respect the contracts and pay the players immediately.’
Burchkalter: ‘When talking about image, FIFPro Division Africa cannot understand the position of the League allowing the club to sign new contracts.’
FIFPro Division Africa would like to remind the South African Football Association that one of the fundamental settlements in the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the African Football Confederation CAF in 2011 was the respect of national laws and Collective Bargaining Agreement at national level.
Burchkalter concludes: ‘The question we have to ask to the League is: Must SAFPU call for a full strike involving all players in the First Division to be clearly heard? For SAFPU, FIFPro Division Africa and the players of FC AK, this fight is all about respect of rules and respect of contract.’
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