ISL franchise Hyderabad FC told to clear dues worth nearly Rs 5 crore by May 15
Players’ status committee of All India Football Federation calls for stringent action if club misses deadline to clear payments of players and coaches.Updated: Apr 30, 2020 12:00 IST
Hyderabad FC (HFC) have been given till May 15 to clear payments of over half-a-million dollars to five players and three in the coaching staff including former head coach Phil Brown. The decisions on Wednesday by the players’ status committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) include fines ranging from $500 to $2000 on HFC for each claim. The total amount HFC have to pay is $646,918 (almost Rs 4.9 crore). The players who wrote separately to the AIFF are: Marcelo Leite Pereira (Marcelinho), Marko Stankovic, Deyvison Rogerio da Silva (Bobo), Giles Barnes and Matthew Kilgallon.
Apart from Brown, Neil McDonald and Aiden Davison from the coaching staff had written saying they haven’t been paid by the new franchise of the Indian Super League.
The break-up of the dues in the committee’s reports are: Marcelinho $202,000; Bobo $108,750; Brown $89,888; Stankovic $72,800; Kilgallon $59,525; Barnes $52,430; McDonald $33,025 and Davison $28,500. For players the amount includes bonuses for featuring in games and in one case, a return flight ticket.
Brown will also have to be paid $22,222 (almost Rs 16.83 lakh) on May 30, as per the termination agreement, the committee said.
The club needs to submit proof of payment to the AIFF, the committee said in reports reviewed by Hindustan Times.
“…failing which stringent action shall be taken against the Club (sic) in accordance with relevant provisions of the relevant Regulations of the AIFF,” the committee said.
The committee said it took up the complaints because HFC failed to clear dues after being given an opportunity. HFC “has failed to provide any concrete timeline for payments of the outstanding dues,” the reports say.
The six-member committee headed by Babu Mather has said it has seen individual agreements between HFC and the complainants.
Hindustantimes.com had reported on April 19 that Brown and some players had written to AIFF about payments that were pending.
Brown, a former Hull City coach in the Premiership, was sacked by HFC on January 11, 2020, along with McDonald and Davison. Per the committee’s report, according to the termination agreement, Brown wrote to AIFF on April 3 saying HFC were supposed to pay $132,332 (over Rs 1 crore approximately) in six monthly installments of $22,222 beginning January 15.
HFC have paid once, Brown has told AIFF according to the committee’s report. Brown’s contract began on August 28, 2019 and was supposed to run till May 31, 2020.
HFC have, according to the reports, informed the committee that in view of the nationwide lockdown from March 25 due to Covid-19 it has been difficult to “remit” foreign payments. HFC have also cited Fifa Covid-19 guidelines which provides for making delayed payments while honouring contracts in the wake of the pandemic.
In separate reports, the committee has stated the income tax documents HFC said it couldn’t produce due to the lockdown can be submitted “electronically with digital signature”, followed by a printout to the bank facilitating the payment. It has asked HFC to send the documents electronically to the bank by May 5, two days before the lockdown ends in Telangana. Due to the lockdown, HFC have been given till May 15 to clear dues, the committee said.
The coaches, the committee ruled, are exempt from Fifa’s Covid-19 guidelines because they “do not deal with the delay in payments of contractual obligations in case of a termination agreement.”
“The guidelines issued by FIFA are to safeguard the interests of the Clubs as well as to ensure that contracted Players or Coaches receive their salaries on time. In the present matter, it is pertinent to note that the termination agreement signed between the parties cannot be considered as an agreement which cannot be performed by the parties…”
Since the competition is over --- HFC played their last match on February 20 and ISL ended on March 14 --- the players have fulfilled obligations and hence their payments too cannot be delayed citing Fifa’s Covid-19 guidelines, the committee has said.
“Moreover, the Committee feels that the Club (HFC) is trying to abuse the safeguarding principles laid down by FIFA by taking protection under these guidelines,” it said.
“We are in receipt of the orders which we feel may be short on due consideration to the operational hindrances at hand for us as an entity to even attempt catalyzing an amicable resolution. We have not yet been given a formal hearing either on phone or on video conferencing, and we would hope to have the opportunity to arrive at a solution post proper hearing, especially on account of the current global situation. I am sure our team will be able to gain empathy from the concerned committee and we assure we will make the best efforts to arrive at a solution soon,” said Nitin Pant, Chief Operating Officer, Hyderabad FC.