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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

No reason to delay athletes’ payments

14th April 2012
Editorial cartoon

Some athletes, notably premier league soccer club players, have been airing complaints based on what they say are inconsistencies in the payment of money rightly due to them for duties performed.

In fact, some clubs are known to have been suppressing internal boycotts fuelled by irregular payment of what they owe players, coaches and whatever other eligible officials.

Very strangely, even supposedly wealthy and otherwise well positioned clubs in existence for decades have not been spared the disgrace resulting from the awkward situation.

These are cases of clubs and sports organisations undermining the rights of athletes whose sweat and toil contributes to the bodies’ very own progress and prestige, and the result is demoralisation precipitating a decline in performance standards.

There are numerous times when pledges club officials have been honoured only after damaging revelations in the media.
It’s hard to believe that all this is due to bad luck. Rather, we get the impression that the respective officials simply renege on their responsibilities only to find that they sabotage the clubs or associations they are expected or supposed to lead.

Delaying payment of the dues of athletes who have performed their duties to satisfaction is a recipe for disastrous go-slows and even worse behaviour and practices, and top-flight sports clubs like Simba or Young Africans (for soccer) should stand as icons to the rest in the country.

Some club officials are fond of rushing to the media to plead their innocence whenever players, coaches or some other officials protest payment delays, only to secretly meet the demands mainly in a bid to ensure the situation does not degenerate into a scandal!

Recent cases of some of our soccer clubs refusing or failing to honour their contracts with foreign coaches are but the tip of an iceberg. Several others have found themselves performing poorly chiefly owing to loss of morale among players and officials – even when the financial position is reasonably healthy.

It is on record that Twiga Stars almost gifted the Namibian counterparts a walkover from the African Women Soccer Championship some two months ago simply there was no money to buy air tickets for the team to fly to Windhoek and back!

Ironically, we have yet to hear any officials from any of our sports clubs or organisations – except coaches, that is – complaining that their salaries, allowances, etc., have been delayed. The reason is that there are just no such delays!
Clubs and sports organisation officials must move with greater diligence in honouring commitments relating to payments to players and coaches.

Players and members of the technical bench are precious and their contributions must be respected through appropriate compensation, at least in the form of payment of dues at agreed terms. After all, they too are humans who need to feed themselves and their families as well as meet various other obligations.

Delaying their payments is cruel and unacceptable, and officials must refrain from this habit if athletes and coaches are to reciprocate through quality performance. It’s upon bodies like the Tanzania Football Federation to think of ways to legally ensure that justice is done and seen to be done.

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