By Sikhumbuzo Moyo |Chronicle|
The International Federation of Professional Footballers (Fifpro) has come out in full support of the strike by disgruntled Hwange FC players over unpaid winning bonuses and signing on fees stretching back to 2015.
The players are each owed $800 in winning bonuses for last season and $1 250 for this year, excluding signing on fees for the two seasons, which are believed to be close to $4 000 per season.
The only money players received are $10 home games’ allowances and away games’ allowances of $20.
Fifpro, which represents the interests of over 65 000 professional football players worldwide, called on the Premier Soccer League and Zifa to take action.
In a statement released yesterday following industrial action by the players on Tuesday, Fifpro was unequivocal in its support of the players’ action.
“Fifpro fully supports the players’ strike and urges the club, the League and the Zimbabwean Football Association (Zifa), to take action. Two years without payment is appalling,” wrote Fifpro secretary-general Theo van Seggelen.
“It is about time that Hwange FC and other clubs in Zimbabwe and Africa realise that in professional football it is mandatory to pay players and respect their contracts.
“A club which does not pay its players does not belong in professional football. It is up to the leagues and the local federations to monitor their clubs and to prevent situations such as these from occurring,”said van Seggelen.
This is the first time the players’ international body has come out in support of strike action by players in Zimbabwe.
Hwange players become the third to revolt against the club this season over money issues after Tsholotsho and Caps United.
Meanwhile, Hwange administrator Khumbulani Mbano insinuated that Football Union of Zimbabwe president and Dynamos legend Desmond Maringwa was behind the industrial action by the players.
He said this while addressing the players on Tuesday.
“If company management says there is no longer football in Hwange (because of strike action), I then say to myself so this was deliberate so that Maringwa takes them (players) to Dynamos,” Mbano said.
However, Maringwa rubbished the claims yesterday.
“That’s a very petty issue, a childish statement. We are a professional organisation, hence our recognition by other international bodies,” said Maringwa.