By Christos Meliopoulos – Nicosia
Late last summer Cyprus found itself exposed and embarrassed in the eyes of world football professionals as the international federation of players (FIFPro) warned its members to avoid the island. Reprimanding Cypriot clubs, FIFPro referred to “a record of not meeting contractual payment terms.”
But football club officials in the island don’t seem to have taken notice. Now the Pancyprian Association of Footballers (PASP) has highlighted two controversial practices, unduly forced upon the players.
Initially the Association issued a statement condemning the pressure applied onto footballers by club officials to sign fake settlements.
“A particularly worrisome phenomenon for our member footballers has been brought to our attention. Club officials, in view of the next criteria assessment (of the clubs’ league participation eligibility), are attempting to persuade their players to sign a document which would ‘certify’ that they are no financial arrears in their contracts,” read the statement.
PASP has urged its members no to sign any such document as it essentially deprives them of their rights as they stem from their professional contracts. “We call upon the footballers that have already been approached in such a way to contact us immediately. We have witnessed many such deception actions. Even a seemingly innocent document could create problems for football players,” is the warning by the Association’s spokesman.
But PASP has been dealing with another development that affects the professional relationship between footballers and Cypriot league clubs. “Our association has recently been informed about two cases in which club administrators imposed a fine on players for bad pitch performance,” explained a separate statement.
The Association is adamant that clubs have no right whatsoever to impose such fines. “We want to make clear that these fines have no legal substance. A club can include in its internal regulations a provision about imposing fines in cases of bad performance and submit them to the Cypriot Football Federation. However, this cannot legitimise such a regulation,” warned PASP.
The members and their legal team stressed that should a player under contract with a club dispute such a fine, then there would be no official sports justice body that wouldn’t produce a verdict in their favour. “FIFA, the world football governing body, for instance, doesn’t even bother to listen to any arguments for fines due to bad performances,” they added.