PLAYER exploitation to come to an end?
If negotiations between Premier Soccer League teams and the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe come to fruition, top flight players will be guaranteed of a minimum wage next year to protect them against exploitation by their clubs.
There is no minimum monthly salary for PSL players with reports that some players, especially those playing for relatively smaller teams with no corporate sponsorship, earn as little as $50 per month.
The Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) has over the years been advocating for a minimum wage for professional players, a basic salary that is above the country’s poverty datum line.
Poverty datum line is defined as the cost of a given standard of living that must be attained if a person is deemed not to be poor. It varies from country to country.
During a recent workshop in Victoria Falls attended by representatives of FUZ, PSL CEO Kennedy Ndebele and a contingent from FIFPro — a worldwide representative organisation for all professional footballers, more than 60 000 male and female players — it was agreed that Zimbabwe urgently needed a minimum wage.
“It was agreed that a standard contract for professional footballers should be crafted but that is still work in progress. The standard contract should be a document signed by clubs and a footballers’ association, in this case FUZ, and we expect it to be signed as soon as possible,” said
PSL media liaison officer Kudzai Bare.
Bare said without necessarily pre-empting the contents of the proposed standard contract and taking a cue from how other countries had crafted their documents, it should entail clauses that guarantee favourable working conditions for players among other requirements.
“We are hopeful the minimum wage will start applying next season but like I said before it’s work in progress among the various stakeholders,” she said.
Last year Fifa ruled that players can terminate their contracts if not paid for three consecutive months, a move hailed by players worldwide, especially those in Africa and other developing countries who for years had been complaining of being exploited by their clubs.
FUZ secretary Thomas Sweswe said the introduction of a standard contract and a minimum wage for local players was a welcome move that would end player exploitation by clubs that do not respect the rights of players.
The sticking point, however, remains on how much the minimum wage should be.
FUZ and the PSL both hope to come to an agreement before the end of the season.