Absa Premiership

AmaZulu points debacle: Other clubs are warned

Cape Town - It suggests to some soccer diehards as containing an element of ironic, but poetic justice.

After regaining Absa Premiership status two seasons ago through the backdoor via the purchase of promoted Thanda Royal Zulu's status for a reputed R42-million, the tradition-steeped AmaZulu club are now faced with the foreboding possibility of being relegated again.

This is due to a result of the six-point penalty declared by FIFA for failing to pay a fraction of this amount after losing a contractual dispute with Namibian player Phinheas Nambandi.

After a protracted case that lasted years and remained unsettled at PSL and SAFA levels, Nambandi through the South African Football Players Union took the matter to FIFA for adjudication, with the world controlling body fining AmaZulu approximately R150 000 and further required to pay Nambandi in excess of R1 million for breach of contract.

AmaZulu brazenly failed to make these payments within the stipulated 30-day period, with the six-point penalty then coming into effect and further warning the Durban-based club of demotion from the Absa Premiership if the non-payment persisted.

AmaZulu have since belatedly paid up the outstanding money, but with the six-point deduction remaining in force, they have been demoted seven places to the bottom of the log table and clearly face an uphill task to remain in the top division.

And, furthermore, the SAFP has now warned other clubs who have failed to meet their financial commitments to players that a similar response will be taken to that against AmaZulu - stepping up to FIFA level if necessary.

The SAFP further claim that a number of clubs are flirting with danger in this respect and the union will leave no stone unturned in their fight to achieve what is termed "justice for players who are financially victimised by their clubs."

While other clubs might not arrogantly or naively ignore directives from FIFA, further stiff penalties might well be looming.

And in the words of the old German proverb: "He who does not open his eyes must open his purse."