Sunday, July 5, 2020

Football unionist decries exploitation of players by clubs

BY ORATILE OTSETSWE

Botswana Footballers’ Union (FUB) president, Onalethata Tshekiso, says local football clubs are not on a satisfactory level when it comes to players’ welfare.

In an interview, he said that the union is concerned by the cases they get concerning players contracts getting terminated after injury on duty and clubs failing to honour the contractual obligations.

He said from the past season (2018/2019) alone they handled 50 cases ranging from unlawful termination, non payments. He said the two are the main issues that the players are always complaint about, although he could not state how many cases are still pending he revealed that most of them are still pending.

“Football players’ welfare is still not satisfactory; a lot still needs to be done to address the problem. It can’t be the issue of the Union alone fighting to address players’ welfare, every stakeholder needs to play their part for a better change” he added.

Tshekiso said, despite an alarming number of cases in the last season, FUB has noticed a great decline in the number of cases from the recent past seasons. He explained that to compel teams to honour their contracts with players FUB through its legal department has taken up many cases on behalf of the players (its members), forcing clubs that did not honour players contracts to pay the money they owe to the players.

Tshekiso noted that “FUB have put pressure on the Botswana Football Association (BFA) an independent tribunal, the National Dispute Resolution Chamber (NDRC) that specifically look at matters between teams and players”

Commenting about clubs paying for players medical fees after injury on duty he said some of the clubs in the league try but it is not enough. He opined that to avoid these issues, for the benefit of both parties every player in the league has to have a medical cover. He added that a medical cover can be assistance to clubs who are limited financially because the medical cover will cover medical bills that come suddenly.

He explained that FUB has been involved in talks with medical aid service providers to come on board and partner with local clubs. Clubs have been slow to partner with medical aid service providers since we started pursuing them last year. FUB has been awaiting the national league clubs to take the offer. He added the offer complements newly introduced standard contract which included a medical cover for every player in the elite league.

“In terms of workers compensation Act, every employer is compelled to insure an employee against any form of injury or loss of life that occurs while on duty and it is such insurance that must be used in case of such eventuality. Players must be compensated fully for any incapacity that happens to them while on duty.

“As a union we have also engaged all the stakeholders including the relevant government department to address players ‘welfare” explained Tshekiso.

He concluded that BFA should lead the way and be in a position to dictate terms and guide how players’ welfare should be taken care of. He added that taking care of players’ welfare is an integral part of the development of the game and without players there is no football.

Tshekiso observed that FUB has signed a collective bargaining agreement with the BFA, which details how the two should engage to address the issue of welfare.

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Sunday Standard June 28 – 4 July

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of June 28 - 4 July, 2020.