Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Epoupa saga: DeMbare ready to comply

By Eddie Chikamhi

Dynamos chairman Isaiah Mupfurutsa says the leadership at the club will do everything in their power to avoid falling foul to FIFA’s heavy sanctions after they were given a month to pay Christian Joel Epoupa about US$17 000 for alleged breach of contract.

Christian Epoupa
Christian Epoupa

The Glamour Boys, who received the determination from the FIFA Dispute Resolution Committee a few days ago, are yet to sit and chart the way forward.

DeMbare were ordered to pay their former striker US$16 755 after the Cameroonian reported them to the global football mother body citing breach of contract.

Mupfurutsa yesterday said the Glamour Boys are aware of the implications of the FIFA resolution and will explore all the options available to them in the best interest of saving the club from further sanctions.

DeMbare risk being summoned to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee with dire consequences such as the possibility of having points docked, which could leave them relegated from the Premier Soccer League if they don’t respond positively.

Under the international football statutes, the Harare giants have 10 days to write to FIFA requesting grounds for the DRC decision to enable them to lodge an appeal against the judgment with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“We just received the communication. This is something that has happened just about 48 hours ago and we are still to decide how to respond.

“We have to go through the judgment and try to handle everything in a proper way. We have to explore all the options available to us so that we save the club from going into trouble.

“According to the statutes, we are allowed to appeal, but I am sure we will definitely act in a manner that will not further prejudice the club.

“We are a law-abiding club and, because we fall under FIFA, we will not do anything that puts us in bad light. We will definitely not ignore FIFA’s communication. We need constructive engagement and as a club we will definitely do everything to avoid FIFA sanctions,” said Mupfurutsa.

Epoupa, who left Dynamos in acrimonious circumstances early this year after serving just half of his two-year contract, dragged the Harare giants to FIFA with the assistance of the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe.

His case was heard in Switzerland on November 15 by the Zurich-based FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber and a determination was made in favour of the player.

However, there are genuine concerns on how Dynamos are going to source the scarce hard currency to settle the bill, which is also likely to balloon because of interests.

The DeMbare chairman, however, accused Epoupa of shifting the goalposts and demanding his payment in hard cash from the previous executive, a move which Mupfurutsa said made it difficult for the Harare giants.

“By the time this executive came into office, the matter had already been reported to FIFA. So it’s something that we have to take up from there.

“It’s not like Dynamos had refused to pay him or that Zimbabwean clubs are inconsiderate with players. Epoupa and Dynamos’ problems centred on the issue of foreign currency. The club had been paying him all the time and he accepted the payment through local bank transfers.

“How he accessed foreign currency to send home had always been his baby ever since he went into a contract with the club. But all of a sudden the player just changed the goal posts and started demanding his dues in hard currency, which everyone know is a big problem here. Even big local companies are failing to get forex, it seems it’s beyond everyone’s control.

“So if the club is to be charged for refusing to pay him, that will be entirely untrue because Dynamos, I understand, did their best under the circumstances.

“The club paid him his dues and even if you go to our sponsors, they have records that show they intervened and at some point availed all his money, but he refused to take it. So it cannot be argued that Dynamos refused to pay him his dues.

“Anyway, we have to settle the bill and we have to do it in 30 days according to FIFA, but considering the dynamics of our situation in Zimbabwe, this is a big figure since it has to be paid in foreign currency.

“As you know foreign currency is a huge problem here. In fact ,that is where all the problems emanated from,” said Mupfurutsa. The Herald