Cameroon Elite One

Players in Cameroon urge clubs and FA to collaborate and solve non-payment crisis


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Cameroon Elite One
  • Cameroon player union SYNAFOC launched a campaign to urge clubs to pay salaries on time

  • Only seven of the 19 top-tier teams are up to date with their payments

  • Union’s president Geremie Njitap says Cameroon football can seriously advance if all parties collaborate to solve issue

Cameroon player union SYNAFOC has launched a campaign to urge clubs to respect player contracts and pay salaries in a timely manner. The union introduced a monthly tool, the barometer, that indicates which clubs are up to date with their payments.

“We need to put some pressure on the Cameroonian Football Federation (Fecafoot) and the clubs, as they should help arrange that all clubs run their business professionally,” said SYNAFOC President Geremie Njitap.

“Unfortunately, we have been receiving more complaints from players about non-payment issues: they get neither their salaries nor their bonuses. This season the situation is much worse than in previous years, as the number of complaints have increased dramatically.”

Earlier this month, SYNAFOC introduced their barometer, which indicates the payment status at all clubs in the men’s top two divisions and the women’s top league.

This overview showed that only seven out of 19 MTN Elite One clubs have paid all salaries since the season kicked off in October 2023 (five months), and that seven clubs are at least four months behind with their payments. In MTN Elite Two, the situation is even worse: only two of the 16 clubs are complying with their duties, while seven have not paid their players for all five months.

Cameroon Elite One 2
Dynamo players Joel Marius Ngon A Tiati and Franck Baho Henock
Cameroon Elite One 1
Aziz Bassane Koulagna of Coton Garoua and Brian Michel Melingui Tsanga of Apejes De Mfou during a MTN Cameroon Elite One match
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Emmanuel Pierre Maxwell of Fortuna and Maxwell Mbuyah Cho of Colombe during a MTN Cameroon Elite One

Geremie and other SYNAFOC representatives have visited several clubs lately to offer players their support and to discuss the situation with the clubs’ leadership figures.

“When they try to explain their problems, clubs often say they don’t have the money, but mostly they are to blame for that,” said Geremie.

Clubs receive a significant part of their budgets from Fecafoot or the government. The FA has introduced a system that checks how clubs spend their funding, but most clubs still fail to comply with it. For example, clubs need to show evidence such as a bank payment statement to prove that players are getting paid. If they fail to prove that they have spent the first instalment of the FA’s fund properly, then clubs will not get the second instalment.

According to Geremie, a number of clubs are having serious issues with this procedure and then don’t receive all their money from the FA. “They will then use this as an excuse to not pay the players. However, the reality is that most of our clubs have to make crucial steps towards professionalisation – some don’t even have a bank account or a secretariat.”

GA Africa Geremi Njitap Douala 1
SYNAFOC President Geremie Njitap is also a FIFPRO global board member and vice president

SYNAFOC has turned to the FA with proposals that could improve the current situation, including how the federation could create a special way to allocate the money from the fund that they have blocked from the clubs directly to the players when clubs do not meet the criteria.

“Currently, the players are the ones suffering from the penalties imposed on the clubs. It is a vicious circle: their clubs don’t pay their salaries and therefore the clubs don’t receive extra money from the FA, which means that players will once again not get paid,” Geremie said.

Geremie is urging the leaders of clubs that are respecting player contracts to help raise the level of professionalism of the other teams in the country. “If we, the players, the clubs and Fecafoot get together and collaborate, then we can seriously advance football in Cameroon.”