Age-cheating breeds transfer disputes

Contractual disputes that ensue every season locally suggest that there is limited understanding of players’ contracts.

This season alone, transfers of Pilirani Zonda, Alfred Manyozo Junior and Chimango Kayira have sparked disputes with their respective clubs.

Most of the disputes arise when players want to move on and seek greener pastures, especially outside the country.

Suddenly, the clubs realise the players they have invested so much in are not bound by contracts, but somehow expect FAM and Sulom to act to the contrary when clearing them.

For a start, it is important to understand that players can either be professional or amateur footballers.

Most, if not all, TNM Super League players qualify for the status of professional footballers.

Fifa regulations define a professional player as “a player who has a written contract with a club and is paid more for his footballing activity than the expenses he effectively incurs. All other players are considered to be amateurs.”

Forget the misconception that professionals are only those who play in the South Africa Premier Soccer League (PSL). To distinguish them from the locals, it is better we call the PSL stars, foreign-based players.

The tendency in most clubs is that they sign players who cheat on their ages; hence, the teams pay the price.

If a player is yet to attain the age of 23, it is important to understand that they cannot be sold on a transfer fee, but training compensation. The transfer of Gabadinho Mhango fell in this category.

Training compensation is paid for players aged between 18 and 22. A quick scan through most local players shows that they under-declare their ages and clubs must brace to lose out when such players are signing for foreign teams.

Likewise, those aged 17 and below cannot sign professional contracts until they attain the age of 18. That is why Limbikani Mzava, Robin Ngalande and Luka Milanzi were classified as minors when signing for Bloemfontein Celtic, Bidvest Wits and TP Mazembe respectively.

The Fifa player status regulations are framed in such a way that if you cheat, you are bound to pay the price in one way or the other.

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