Football Comment: Player managementBy: Mathew T Haikali
THE delay of the league kick-off does not only affect the clubs’ financial resources and the fans, but also the players, the coaches and the team manager.
How do you decide to contract or invest in players that you might not use, or might lose out due to other unforeseen circumstances?
In an amateur setup like the one we have in Namibia, it is very difficult to sign players for more than one season. The current scenario that we are seeing of players moving from one team to another has been created by the administrators who are reluctant to move the NPL to a professional setup.
If two or three teams are run in a professional manner, why can’t the league administrators require all participating teams to meet the criteria before a league kick-off?
This brings up the issue of player management, where teams either poach players from lower divisions or each other, and register and contract them without having followed due process.
This is because the process of player recruitment in this country is not clear to all. It is important to recognise the difference between players in our league and in other countries. There are two types of players that are recognized by Fifa – amateurs and professionals.
According to Fifa the definition of a professional players is: “a player who is under contract and earns from football more than the expenses he incurs in playing”. Amateur players are only registered for a season.
To be regarded as a professional a player needs to sign a contract and this contract must contain some basic clauses such as terms and conditions of service, salaries and other remuneration, duration of the contract, and what is covered including travel and accommodation if applicable.
This means if a club is willing to compensate a player, a certain obligation by the player needs to be reflected in the agreement, such as when the player is available for training and games, the player needs to comply with the club rules and obligations, what are the measurements for performance, what is the player’s obligation towards the club when it comes to commercial and sponsors’ support, and how much commercial activity is the player allowed outside the activities of the club.
All this information needs to be clearly spelled out in the document to avoid in any misunderstanding in the future.
If a player commits to the above, what is expected from the club? It is important that clubs ensure that they make provision in the contract for the club’s obligation so that when the team wins a cup competition, players should not expect to be paid from the prize monies, but according to the agreed contract. For any club to enter into an agreement, there are basic provisions that need to be taken care of.
These include salaries or allowances, which need to be honoured at all costs, the duration of the contract and time of the season, treatment of injuries, what equipment will be provided, what insurance will be provided, what bonuses are available to the player and any other commitment that needs to be addressed by the club for the player.
While contracts are an important component, the onus is on the club to ensure that players know what exit mechanisms are in place as well as what disciplinary processes and mechanism are within the club – this will ensure that discipline issues are addressed in a “gentlemanly manner” when they occur.
It is always suggested that a clause on termination on just cause be included in the contract to ensure that if a player has not been utilised to the maximum by a club, he can request to be released by the team.
Always remember that Fifa regulations state that a player is free to speak to another club if his contract has less than six months to run.
* Mathew T Haikali is a FUTURO III regional instructor in administration and management of football