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Botswana player union tackles non-payment with labour deal

26 February 2020
Players in Botswana enjoy better legal protection thanks to the collective labour agreement the Footballers Union of Botswana (FUB) signed with the country’s football association (BFA).

The deal included the introduction of a standard player contract and a club licensing system, and the establishment of a national dispute resolution chamber (NDRC). The latter has already proved its worth in the year since its introduction, according to Kgosana Masaseng, the player union’s general secretary.

“To date we have yet to lose a case at the dispute resolution chamber. We have won ten cases and only two clubs have failed to respect the rulings. The other clubs paid our members accordingly. The Disciplinary Committee will deal with the clubs that didn’t pay.”

Ten other cases are pending at the NDRC, Masaseng added.

Prior to the collective agreement, Botswana was known for its many non-payment issues. In 2018, FUB reported that 10 of 16 clubs in the Premier League did not pay their players regularly. Clubs were lacking funds and players would go without pay for months.

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BFA President MacLean Letshwiti and FUB President Onalethata Tshekiso shake hands on their deal

“Previously there was no effective judicial system for players. Their cases could last for five years,” Masaseng said. “Clubs were terminating contracts unilaterally and would often not give players a copy of their contract.”

“In our collective agreement this has all been addressed. The players’ rights are much better protected now.”

There are still clubs who are not paying players in full and on time, but the football association is now enforcing its new club licensing system. “The implementation of club licensing saw a slight improvement as teams are afraid to be relegated,” Masaseng said. “Four teams have been put on notice that they have to pay on time. If they fail, they risk relegation.”

 

More influence for players

Next to more legal protection, FUB arranged that players became part of decision making processes as they were allowed to sit on various committees, including the player status committee, the technical committee and the national team committee.

“I want to congratulate the player unions of Botswana and South Africa, as they are paving the way for other members in our division. I hope many other countries will soon follow,” said FIFPRO Board Member and FIFPRO Africa President Geremi, a former Cameroon national team player.

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