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About Fifa reforms

BEING in a non-professional football set-up should not be an excuse for clubs to neglect players' rights, Namibia Football Players' Union president Sylvester Goraseb said on Tuesday.

As it is, the way Namibian clubs are administered in relation to playing personnel borders on infringement of footballers' human rights, Goraseb intimated during an information sharing session with the press in Windhoek regarding the recent watershed agreement between Fifa and Fifpro.

Last month, Fifa penned a six-year cooperation with Fifpro concerning the governance of professional football worldwide, following Fifpro's initial legal complaint against Fifa to the European Commission in September 2015.

Fifpro will also now be included and engaged on all Fifa decision making bodies, another realisation that Nafpu has been praying for in their long-running battle with the Namibia Premier League and Namibia Football Association.

However, what Nafpu is looking forward to is the establishment of a independent arbitration structure and standard contracts for players which Fifa and Fifpro will work on with football stakeholders.

The reforms will come into effect in March 2018.

With the newly adopted rules, players will now have the right to leave a club in the event of ill-treatment to force them to accept undue amendments to a contract, or in the absence of a salary for two months.

Players may also accrue additional compensation estimated at 3 to 6 months' salary after the departure of a player from a concerned club that fails to pay the salary.

Should a club not comply with Fifa's decision to compensate the players, the club will face an immediate ban on transfers.

“Fifa members who fail to implement these requirements will forfeit their funding from Fifa. These are the kind of consequences that we have been calling for all this time,” Kahiriri said.

Whether these radical amendments, designed to solve the issue of poor remuneration for players, are practical in a Namibian context where football structures are negligently malleable remains to be seen.

The scarcity of financial resources and administrative unrest, which resulted in 16 months without competitive domestic football, are other pressing challenges.

“That is why we keep saying to the NFA, NPL and clubs let us sit down and find an amicable solution going forward,” said Goraseb.

Fifpro and the Ghana Football Association have reportedly struck a deal for Ghanaian players to receive a fixed minimum wage as part of the pilot of the landmark cooperation agreement.

Through the agreement, Fifa recognises the world players' union as the sole body representing employment interests of players, a development that applies to both bodies' affiliates.

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