How Threats Of Transfer Ban Forced Shooting Stars To Deny Sacking 17 Players

How Threats Of Transfer Ban Forced Shooting Stars To Deny Sacking 17 Players

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By Ebube Dike

Shooting Stars of Ibadan, Oyo State have been in the news this week for two reasons – first was the brutalisation of their striker, Ebenezer Odeyemi by the Nigerian Soldiers on Tuesday and secondly the sacking of 17 players 48 hours later.

The latter, however, drew the attention of the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL organisers, the League Management Company, LMC who in a letter dated Wednesday, March 11 directed the club to rescind the decision or face dire consequences.

In a release on Thursday night, Shooting Stars claimed that the 17 players were dropped due to poor performance and inability to reach expectations.

LMC, making reference to rules guiding players contract engagement in the league as well as FIFA’s position noted that the “Rule B9.40 of the Framework and Rules of the Nigeria Professional Football League, and Article 16 of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players explicitly restricts the unilateral termination of Player Contracts during the course of a season.”

Although the league organisers gave conditions upon which players contract could be terminated while the league is on, it however warned that “Failure to comply with these extant football regulations will result in appropriate sanctions against your club, which may include and not be limited to an immediate transfer ban, pending the fulfillment of all financial obligations to the players concerned.”

Below is the LMC’s letter:

UNILATERAL TERMINATION OF PLAYER CONTRACTS

Our attention has been drawn to recent media reports which disclose that your club intends to terminate the subsisting contracts of some of your currently registered players. Be informed that both Rule B9.40 of the Framework and Rules of the Nigeria Professional Football League, and Article 16 of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players explicitly restricts the unilateral termination of Player Contracts during the course of a season.

Note however that where a Club and a Player agree to mutually terminate the Player Contract, they shall immediately notify the LMC to that effect in accordance with Article B9.52 of the Framework and Rules of the Nigeria Professional Football League.

Note further that other than termination by mutual agreement, Article B9.59 of the Framework and Rules of the Nigeria Professional Football League, a Club may unilaterally terminate a player’s contract only if the player is guilty of gross misconduct, fails to heed any final written warning or is convicted of a criminal offence punishable with a term of imprisonment of three (3) months or more.

These provisions exist to protect the sanctity of contracts between Clubs and Players. You are therefore advised to comply with the above provisions as they will be strictly enforced. You may wish to avail yourself of the LMC Circular on this issue dated 9 January 2015 and duly published on the NPFL website (www.npfl.ng) for further guidance.

Failure to comply with these extant football regulations will result in appropriate sanctions against your club, which may include and not be limited to an immediate transfer ban, pending the fulfillment of all financial obligations to the players concerned.

The above is for your information and consequent compliance.

Yours faithfully,

Salthu Abubakar COO, LMC (end of letter)

In a swift reaction, the General Manager of the club, Dimeji Lawal have denied that the 17 players were sacked.

He noted that the information on the sacking of the players were “misunderstood”.

While challenging any of the affected players to come forward with a letter terminating their contract, he stressed that the club would continue to do “things professionally”

“Do you think it’s possible to lay off 17 players just like that? He begins with a question!

“It is not done like that, we are a professional club and we do things professionally. I want to believe the message was misunderstood. It was basically a review of thier performance since the commencement of the league.

“These players are duly registered with the club and with the League Management Company till date, any player whose contract has been terminated should come out with a letter to that effect. Here in Shooting Stars, we do things professionally” he was quoted. concluded.

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