The Cameroon professional football league enters day 4 of the 2018_2019 season in both the league one and two championships, with match day four coming soon. Many players can already boast of 270 minutes of game time and some like Victor Mengue are standing out tall as top scorer in the league, just like Frederick Etoum Bang Jam of AS FAP in the second tier championship.

This is in sharp contrast to some of their colleagues, whose once seemingly brilliant careers are now hanging on a balance because of what they call ungrateful club presidents. Many of them have find new clubs, and just like any other footballer, are ready for a new challenge, but their former clubs are not willing to liberate them, thereby putting the careers of these youngsters in jeopardy. Some of the club presidents claim the players are still having long contracts with their teams. Contracts which the players claim are falsified by the clubs, in order to tie them down.

Owen Mbeh Mikel featured on PWD’s match form for their league’s opener against Apejes, but is yet to kick a ball as his former club Bang Bullet of Nkambe is delaying the finalization of his paper works. His former teammate at Bang Bullet and best defender in the last LFPC awards, Njang Remeo, has also being training with PWD, and could be a solution to the Abakwa boys’ defensive lapses, but his former club is not willing to let him go. Another player still from the same club, but now in the books of Feutcheu of Bandjoun, Ngwang Hanson, has not have the opportunity to express his talents, since joining the club months ago, because of reasons similar to the aforementioned cases.
The fine midfielder, once called up to the intermediate lions in prelude to the 2017 CHAN, claimed to have signed a two year contract with Bang Bullet, and accused the club of adding one extra year on his contract, without his knowledge and non-payment of Salaries and bonuses. These players are desperate to get into the field of play, and do what they like doing best.
When contacted an official of the team in question, he said some of the players didn’t come back to the team since the end of last season and says the club has not receive any request from the player stating his desire to leave the club. Our source also emphasized that some of them still have contracts with the club. But what kind of contracts without respect of terms of Contracts? Recently the National players syndicate published a letter to FECAFOOT with the name of 24 clubs which didn’t respect most if not all of their financial commitments with their players.

Besides bringing a contractual claim for unpaid wages, the ultimate legal action a player can take is to argue that he is entitled to terminate his contract so he can then sign for another club. Article 13 of FIFA’s Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (“the RSTP”) provides that a contract between a player and a club can only be terminated on expiry of the term of the contract or by mutual agreement.However, Article 14 of the RSTP allows for a contract to be terminated without any consequences “where there is just cause.” 

Just cause is not defined by the RSTP however the commentary on the RSTP explains 

behaviour that is in violation of the terms of an employment contract still cannot justify the termination of a contract for just cause. However, should the violation persist over a long time or should many violations be cumulated over a certain period of time, then it is most probable that the breach of contract has reached such a level that the party suffering the breach is entitled to terminate the contract unilaterally.5

Our case study might center on a single club, but that is just one amongst many of such cases in the Cameroon professional football league.

In the build-up to the current season,3 Bamboutos FC players caught the interest of Congolese Club,AS Vita after Trials at the club but Bamboutos FC asked for USD 30 O000 to Liberate this players,Boumsong Junior is another case for the same club. In a separate case in the course of this investigation, a club official vow that a player in his club was on a long term contract and he could only play for another club at the end of the 2022 season despite the player’s desire to leave the club manifested through his boycott of all club activities.

Last year Bawak Etta Thomas couldn’t represent New Stars of Douala in the CAF Confederation cup because of a similar issue because he had days left to the end of a UMS contract that could have been terminated for him to move ahead knowing fully that he had left UMS,Joseph Chapdjou had the same problem with the same club this season,Mbogami Romeo is another case currently held down by Aigle Royal.

Players should know that if you playing with a club without the club issuing him a copy of his contract then the player can use a legal mind to write to the federation and request for a copy of his contract and if it is provided and appears different from what the parties had agreed then it can easily be terminated.

Players should also know that a new FIFA regulation and Statutes on Transfers that went into use on the 1st June 2018 allows a player who has not received their Salaries for two months can apply for termination of the contract and be a free agent.

The clubs think when they hold down these players it is a shows of how powerful they are but one thing is sure, this practice rather exposes weakness in management style,having said that, players must learn to build a strong entourage with a Lawyer and an agent to manage their career to avoid this embarrassment from especially clubs that falsify players contract.

For the players who insists on going without these important personnel’s our research experience is that most victims of this dishonesty always have a weak bargaining Strength because they don’t have a copy of their contracts.

Therefore never sign a document for a club anywhere in the world without reading and keep your copy of the same paper after signing.

Recently, the National players Syndicate(SYNAFOC), headed by Geremi Njitap, exposed the wicked practices of Cameroonian clubs for last season, with clubs still owing their players huge sums of money, including Sign on Fees, Salaries for the entire season in some cases plus other bonuses. But the syndicate however did not make mention of cases of non respect and falsification of player’s contract. It is time for the Syndicate to trumpet this issue of players Liberation as in the last One year we have stumbled on a bunch of cases.

Afeseh Apong

@afesehapong (Twitter)