Lawyer in dispute over bonuses for South African footballers

22:26, May 13, 2010      

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With less than a month to go before the FIFA World Cup kick-off in South African on June 11, tension is reportedly brewing between the South African Football Players' Union (SAFPU) and a Cape Town lawyer over who should negotiate bonuses for players in the South African national team, Bafana Bafana.

The Sowetan newspaper in Johannesburg reported on Thursday that SAFPU were taken aback when they were informed by international football body FIFPro that Tony Irish wants to represent Bafana.

Irish is chief executive of the South African Cricket Players' Association.

SAFPU general secretary Cappy Matutoane said they were the legitimate structure to negotiate with paymasters, the South African Football Association (SAFA) on matters relating to packages for Bafana Bafana.

"We had a meeting with SAFA chief executive Leslie Sedibe three weeks ago to present a collective bargaining agreement for the players for the World Cup and beyond," Matutoane told the Sowetan.

"You will recall that we have a cooperation agreement with SAFA, which was signed by former president Molefi Oliphant in Kempton Park a few years ago."

Sedibe told SAFPU he was not aware of the agreement but Matutoane gave him a copy.

"He asked us to give him time to study it and promised to get back to us. A few days ago we were surprised when FIFPro referred a letter from Tony Irish to us. This was after he wrote to FIFPro informing them that he would represent Bafana Bafana."

FIFPro told Irish that, as far as they were aware, there was a democratically elected union to negotiate on behalf of the players in South Africa, said Matutoane.

"The sooner the matter is resolved, the better for the players to focus on the World Cup", Matutoane said.

Irish could not not be contacted as he was in the U.S. he addressed the players at the Wanderers Hotel in Johannesburg in November during the camp for an international friendly game against Jamaica.

SAFA has expressed keenness to play Bafana Bafana the players one million rands (133,000 U.S. dollars) to share for every goal they score in the World Cup.



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