The former Indian national team skipper and President of FPAI, spoke on the issue of clubs withholding the players’ payments.

Due to the coronvirus pandemic, the I-League and the I-League 2nd Division have been called off before the season’s completion. This has, in turn, led to more problems such as various clubs getting bogged down by an unprecedented financial crisis. As a result, several Indian players are worried about how to make ends meet in the off-season, with clubs either stalling their salaries or worse, triggering the ‘force majeure’ clause. Renedy Singh, the President of the Football Players Association of India (FPAI) is aware of the above issue.

Singh, who is also a former India international is particularly worried about the situation of inexperienced players who face uncertainty in getting their dues cleared – as he revealed to The Times of India on Tuesday.

He called for patience from both clubs and players, as the FPAI looks to resolve the situation. Yet, he also reminded clubs of their responsibility towards their players. “Now, due to the pandemic, money-wise, everything is getting difficult everywhere. We have talked to a few players. A few players are really worried if they would get their money or not. Once they sign a contract, players should keep a copy of the contract with them. This is for the young players. There are a few clubs who can play games (with that situation). Things are better and different from how it was during our playing career,” the former East Bengal star said.

“Payments may be delayed, but we have to make sure that they get paid. They have families to look after. We request the players to stay calm. I am sure the clubs will respect contracts, but if they don’t, then there is AIFF and FIFA to look after. It is hard for everyone.”

“Once they sign a contract, payments may be delayed for a few months due to the pandemic, but the contract should be respected. When there is a contract, you have to pay – there is no question about that,” the 40-year-old explained. He further went on to give the example of Katsumi Yusa, whose dues with East Bengal got cleared after he approached the FPAI and FIFPro.

“East Bengal had not paid him his salary for nearly a year. Once he approached us (FPAI) and FIFPro, the issue got resolved,” Renedy Singh said. “Till now, no club has said that they will not pay the players. All they are asking is to give them some time and I feel we should give them that. In the coming months, if the clubs don’t pay there will be strict action from the AIFF and FIFA. In the past, some clubs have had to pay heavy fines for withholding payments.”

He further went on to elaborate on the responsibilities that investors and/or corporates who attach their names with Indian football clubs have, when it comes to treating their players fairly. “They have a big responsibility and they have to understand that those players run their entire families with their incomes. They wait for the end of each month so that they can pay off their monthly bills. If the payment from the clubs doesn’t come on time, it affects their performances too. I have seen so many such instances during my playing days. It’s all related.”

“Respect the contract and if they fail, they have to pay the price. The AIFF and FIFA are there to look after that. We, at FPAI, will always be there on the players’ side to support them,” Renedy Singh concluded.

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