Thursday, October 1, 2020

Gaborone United problems mount as FIFA sanctions loom large

Gaborone United (GU)’s ever burgeoning financial burdens are threatening to once again push the club deep into the red and lower leagues.

The cash strapped Gaborone giants were recently slapped with a US$5000 fine by the international football governing body FIFA for failing to pay one of its former players Bismark Appiah as ordered by FIFA.

In a ruling made in September 2016, FIFA ordered GU to pay the Ghanaian player an amount totaling US$39 500 (+/-P400 000) in unpaid dues and for a breach of contract. The cashless club is to pay the money with interest of 5% annually.

However, following their failure to pay up, FIFA cranked up the pressure on the already debt ridden GU as they instructed them to pay Appiah within a 30 days period, beginning on 26th July.

In a letter written to both GU and the Botswana Football Association (BFA), FIFA demanded that the US$5000 imposed, along with the US$39 500 owed to Appiah and the subsequent interest be paid within the same time period.

To put pressure on GU, FIFA has warned BFA to instruct its affiliate, being GU, to pay within the period it has been given and to take appropriate action should the club not honour the ruling.

In the letter, FIFA cautioned the BFA that it has an obligation “to automatically implement the pertinent sanctions (against Gaborone United) as established in FIFA Circular no 1628 sent on 9th May 2018.”

Should GU fail to cough up, FIFA ordered that they be punished as per article 64 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.

According to article 64 FDC: ” 1. Anyone who fails to pay another person (such as a player, a coach or a club) or FIFA a sum of money in full or part, even though instructed to do so by a body, a committee or an instance of FIFA or a subsequent CAS appeal decision (financial decision), or anyone who fails to comply with another decision (non-financial decision) passed by a body, a committee or an instance of FIFA, or by CAS (subsequent appeal decision): will be fined for failing to comply with a decision; or will be granted a final deadline by the judicial bodies of FIFA in which to pay the amount due or to comply with the (non-financial) decision; or (only for clubs:) will be warned and notified that, in the case of default or failure to comply with a decision within the period stipulated, points will be deducted or relegation to a lower division ordered. A transfer ban may also be pronounced.

While GU will be mulling over the decision, there are already suggestions that GU as well as some other teams may find themselves knee deep in the same quagmire in the near future.

According to information gathered by this publication, Appiah is not the only employee owed by GU. Former coaches Rudolph Zapata and Drago Stanojovic as well as some players are said to be owed thousands of pulas by the club.

Aside from GU, other teams like Sankoyo Bush Bucks and Mochudi Centre Chiefs are likely to face the same scenario.

Last month BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mfolo Mfolo confirmed that the association had received complaints from coaches regarding the outstanding unpaid salaries.

The coaches sought BFA to compel the teams to pay them failing which they will escalate the matte to the higher body, FIFA.

The BFA CEO had earlier advised the teams to enforce economic controls and live within their means so that they can be able to control their debts.

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