Big blow for Lioli

Big blow for Lioli
Big blow for Lioli

Africa-Press – Lesotho. Lioli is a team with many problems and Thato Sefoli is one of their biggest headaches at the moment. Last month Sefoli took the club to FIFA for defaulting their contractual agreement and demanded the club pay his salary from September 2020 to March 2021.

Both parties presented their sides, and FIFA ruled in favour of Sefoli and ordered the Premier League club to pay the player M73 000 within 45 days. The ruling came down on Monday and, if Lioli fail to pay Sefoli, they could be banned by FIFA from signing players for a period of time.

The club have confirmed receipt of the judgement and announced they have written to FIFA to ask for the grounds of the judgement because it is stated in the decision that they can do so within 10 days.

Speaking yesterday morning on Radio Lesotho, Lioli’s vice-president, Advocate Hopolang Nathane, said FIFA’s ruling stated that if the club does not ask for the reasons for the ruling, they would have effectively waived their right to appeal.

“Our expectation is to hear why FIFA believed the other side over the other and we can only say that when we have grounds or reasons for that,” Nathane said.

“According to the judgement we have 10 days within which we can make a request for those reasons and we have done that already.

We are waiting for them to send them to us, then we will study them and see how we go forward from here,” he added. Sefoli was released by Lioli in March this year at his request even though his contract was not over.

However, football was not being played in the country due to the rising numbers of Covid-19. When dragging the club to FIFA, the player alleged the club had failed to honour their contractual agreement by failing to pay him his full salary.

When the pandemic hit last year, Lioli cut their players’ salaries in half, including that of Sefoli. Lioli president Lebohang Thotanyana always insisted the club did everything above board to avoid scenarios like this one, and he was confident of Lioli’s case to FIFA.

FIFA’s ruling, however, is a blow to Lioli who are struggling financially thanks to the effects of the coronavirus. ‘Tse Nala’ players are still not earning full salaries and like many other clubs in the country.

Lioli has taken a huge financial hit. If the season does continue as the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) has ordered, Thotanyana has previously told this paper Lioli would struggle to transport players to training sessions and even for matches.

He said the Teyateyaneng giants would be unable to hire grounds for matches, buy food and pay players’ wages without any income coming in. M73 000 is a lot of money and if the club were to appeal the decision at the Court Arbitration of Sport (CAS) it could cost Lioli more money.

There is no guarantee ‘Tse Nala’ would win the appeal and it might not be the smart thing to do. Last year, South African club Kaizer Chiefs was barred from signing players for two transfer windows by FIFA and was ordered to pay R500 000 to a Madagascan club in a dispute over a player transfer. The club appealed the decision but lost and incurred more costs. Lioli faces a similar situation.

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