Professional footballers of Hwange FC in Zimbabwe have gone on strike today, Tuesday 4 October. Some have been waiting on their salaries for two years.
The Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) announced the strike this morning after Hwange FC had not reacted to various urgent requests to pay its players. The premier league club’s management has not even answered letters written by the union. Nonetheless, FUZ is still trying to find a peaceful solution to this situation.
“Players’ contracts have been not been respected for almost two years”, FUZ President Desmond Maringwa says.
“The players have been very patient and loyal over this stressful period without any sign of improvement.”
Hwange FC has failed numerous times to pay its players:
- In 2015, all players received less than $500 USD, while the least paid player had a contract for $3,600 per year.
- This year, the players were paid $200 in salaries and $250 in bonuses.
- The players are owed $800 and $1,950 for winning bonuses in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
- Signing on fees have not been paid in the past two years.
- The only money players received are home game allowances ($10) and away game allowances ($20).
- Players were intimidated not to voice their concerns. Management threatened to evict them from their houses which are owned by the club.
Maringwa: “Our members have suffered financially, physically and emotionally for a very long time.”
“The players are struggling to survive. Some cannot pay their children’s school fees.”
FIFPro fully supports the players’ strike and urges the club, the League and the Zimbabwean Football Association (ZIFA), to take action. “Two years without payment is appalling”, says FIFPro Secretary General Theo van Seggelen.
“It is about time that Hwange FC and other clubs in Zimbabwe and Africa realise that in professional football it is mandatory to pay players and respect their contracts.”
“A club which does not pay its players, does not belong in professional football.”
“It is up to the leagues and the local federations to monitor their clubs and to prevent situations such as these from occurring.”
FIFPro through its member FUZ has collected hundreds of questionnaires from players in Zimbabwe as part of a global survey into working conditions. About 15,000 professional footballers worldwide participated in the study. FIFPro will release the results later this year.