Player transfer window opened at the end of the TNM Super League first-round last weekend, but the Super League of Malawi’s (Sulom) order to stop clubs from directly discussing transfer deals with players has created confusion on the transfer market.
Sulom treasurer Tiya Somba-Banda, who also acts as general secretary, said due to the directive, teams and players involved in such discussions risk hefty fines and suspensions as they will be in breach of Football Association of Malawi’s (FAM) player-transfer procedures included in the recently reviewed constitution.
However, some of the Super League clubs such as Silver Strikers and Civo United and players have expressed resentments on the regulation, arguing it is contrary to Sulom’s rule that allows a club to talk with their preferred player from another camp at least in the last six months of his contract. They also argue this will infringe on the rights of players to have a say on the deals.
But others have welcomed the development.
Silver Strikers general secretary Fred Kalonga and his Civo United counterpart Rashid Ntelera said they believe the contradictions on the transfer regulations will create a room for unfair trials as some Sulom officials and clubs might be flouting the procedures deliberately.
But Be Forward Wanderers vice-general secretary Chris Kananji and his Big Bullets counterpart Kelvin Moyo described the rule as the best way to bring sanity on the transfer market and inject a dose of discipline into the players.
Somba-Banda said according to Article 9.10 of Transfers of Players, teams should desist from approaching a player without first seeking permission from the club to which he is registered or contracted.
“We want to bring sanity to our player transfer market. We do not want the chaos that characterised the previous seasons to haunt us again. We are serious on this because the clause on player transfer has now been instituted in FAM constitution,” he said.
The mandate on the illegal approach of players also states that clubs are further warned that causing or influencing a contracted/professional player to terminate a legal contract shall be guilty of an offence and that the relevant Fifa penalties that are above FAM regulations shall apply.
It explains that registered and contracted/professional players are also warned from illegal movement between clubs under the disguise of ‘attending trials’ without formal permission from their clubs.
Under Article 9.10.4 of the regulations, the clubs in breach of the rules will be fined K500 000 in the case of professional players, K250 000 in case of amateur players in the Super League, K100 000 in case of amateur players in the premier division league and K50 000 in case of all other regional division leagues, including youth competitions.
Persistent committing of the offence will attract club suspensions from buying players for at least a season and players involved will also be banned for the same period.
“Sulom are coming with this issue, yet their regulations let clubs have transfer talks with players, whose contracts are heading towards expiry. It would be proper if they come up with only one regulation. We know sometimes Sulom deliberately create such confusions so that they can ably play double standards,” said Kalonga.
Big Bullets captain Fisher Kondowe and Civo right-back John Lanjesi, said the development will give clubs freedom to infringe on the rights of their players as they will have all the powers to prevent them from moving to clubs of their choice.
However, while describing the rule as a welcome idea, players’ agent Kondi Msungama said this would be worthwhile if clubs start offering contracts to their players.
“The teams discuss with the players because they see loopholes on ownership of the players. But if they start giving their players contracts, clubs will automatically be able to claim ownership. At present, it is difficult to create sanity because players are mostly free agents,” Msungama said.”