Clubs must prioritise contract negotiations

2016-01-27 06:00
KICKED OUT: Gabadinho Mhango (right), the former Bloemfontein Celtic hitman, was released by the club after he had signed a precontract with Bidvest Wits.

KICKED OUT: Gabadinho Mhango (right), the former Bloemfontein Celtic hitman, was released by the club after he had signed a precontract with Bidvest Wits.

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THE recent turn of events at Bloemfontein Celtic, when Gabadinho Mhango was kicked out of the club after the Malawian striker had signed a precontract with Bidvest Wits, begs the question: Must clubs wait until the final few months before concluding deals with players?

According to the Bosman ruling of 1995, players can sign a precontract with another club for a free transfer if the player’s contract with their existing club has six months or less remaining.

Players can leave for free when they are out of contract, but club bosses are not happy with this arrangement and tend to victimise players when they discover they have signed precontracts with other teams.

This global ruling has been in existence for more than 20 years, but clubs still leave it till late to renegotiate contracts, and more often end up on the losing side.

Players are sometimes not honest in their dealings and they dilly-dally, knowing full well they have job offers elsewhere.

Celtic were dismayed by Mhango’s conduct and accused him of dishonesty after he had allegedly given them hope that he would extend his contract.

Instead, he signed with Wits.

The striker might find himself kicking his heels, as he cannot be registered to play for the students this season as they have already exhausted their quota of five foreign registrations for the season – unless he finds a temporary club.

Mhango is not the first player to be sent packing after signing a precontract with another club.

Just a few seasons ago, Lerato Chabangu found himself in the same situation while at Mamelodi Sundowns after signing with neighbours SuperSport United.

Jomo Cosmos banished Anthony Laffor to the reserve side a while ago after finding out he had signed with SuperSport.

Lehlohonolo Majoro suffered the same fate after contract negotiations had stalled between him and Kaizer Chiefs. He later crossed the floor to bitter rivals Orlando Pirates.

Three seasons ago, Katlego Mphela signed a precontract with Chiefs from Sundowns and was expected to join in June 2014, but a fallout with Sundowns saw him joining Amakhosi earlier than expected.

Clubs should learn to prioritise contract negotiations before losing players for free after this latest episode – unless the player makes it clear he will not extend his contract.

The new trend is for clubs to agree on the immediate release of a player after he has signed for another club to avoid a messy divorce.

Last week, Chippa United released midfielder Mark Mayambela after he had signed a precontract with SuperSport United. It also happened this time last season when Chiefs released Kingston Nkhatha to SuperSport.

Many players have been professional about this by honouring their contracts until the end of the season.

In 2013, the Platinum Stars duo of Thuso Phala and Ennocent Mkhabela signed precontracts with SuperSport and were joined on that list by Bennett Chenene and David Mathebula of Moroka Swallows, but they all continued to honour their contracts at their clubs.

  • Bosman ruling: The club acquiring the player does not have to pay any compensation for his or her release due to having nothing left to pay on his or her contract Z hence the term “free transfer”.

With six months or less left remaining on an existing contract for players, they are free to negotiate with other clubs and sign a precontract agreement, indicating their ability to move to their intended club on a Bosman transfer once the next transfer window opens.

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