Foreign PSL players blocked

2014-08-03 15:01

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Home Affairs blames clubs as the only new regulations are that waivers must be applied for

Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs were hit hard by the latest stringent Home Affairs rules in their quest for the lucrative MTN8 quarterfinals this weekend.

A number of newly signed foreign players were unable to represent their clubs after they failed to get work visas in time to play in their clubs’ fixtures.

Affected players included Orlando Pirates’ Senegalese midfielder Issa Sarr, his Mamelodi Sundowns compatriot Mame Niang and Mumuni Abubakar from Ghana.

Sundowns allegedly submitted Niang’s application with an old waiver from his previous team University of Pretoria.

Bidvest Wits could not field their new recruits Christopher Katongo and Giorgi Nergadze against Bloemfontein Celtic on Friday after failing to apply for waivers.

Mpumalanga Black Aces will also be without their new signings Collins Mbesuma and Edwin Gyimah when they play Kaizer Chiefs this afternoon for the same reasons.

City Press has learnt that some club bosses were frantically calling the department themselves in an effort to try to resolve the matter, but had no joy as their club’s applications were late.

Home Affairs chief director Jack Monedi put the blame on the clubs, saying they had not followed procedure.

He said it was unfair to blame the department for the clubs’ inefficiencies.

“Some of these applications were received three days before the games and they expected them to be ready immediately.”

He said nothing had changed in the regulations except that clubs needed to apply for waivers before applying for work visas. This was because most players would meet some of the new stringent requirements.

Requirements include:

»?Proof that they possess skills that permanent South African citizens do not have;

»?Experience that could not be found in local citizens;

»?The salary the club is paying is not inferior to that they are paying to other South African players;

»?The contract is in line with South African labour standards; and

» Proof of qualifications from the SA Qualifications Authority (Saqa).

“It’s important to note that requirements for players have not changed. The only new thing is that players, like everybody else, must appear in person for biometrics (finger prints and photograph taking).”

Monedi also cautioned clubs from using informal networks within the department and said they should follow the established protocol.

He said certain club bosses tried to throw their weight around to get favours.

“This is unacceptable,” he warned. “We are going to level the playing fields because this practice disadvantages smaller teams as their owners are not known.

“All soccer teams must be treated the same, no favouritism.”

He said this problem was happening every year though home affairs was trying to work with clubs to help them speed up the process.

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