Super League of Malawi (Sulom) has moved a step further in en¬suring that football players are protected against exploitation and has reminded clubs that players without contracts are free agents.
As an enforcement mechanism, Sulom has told the clubs that if they do not sign contracts with its players risk losing the players.
Sulom General Secretary Williams Banda said players without contracts would be treated as free agents.
He said the body has come up with the contract requirement in keeping with Fifa statutes to protect the play-ers and to avoid poaching by other clubs which like to entice player with monetary rewards.
"It is part of Fifa statutes that clubs should sign contracts with players. Previously we were a bit lax on this requirement that is why clubs were getting away with it. But now we have decided to take a tough stance to protect players from exploitation," he said.
Banda said at the start of the season Sulom circulated a standard copy of contract so that each team should sign with its players.
"We circulated a copy of the contract which contains what clubs should do for their players and what clubs should expect from players. That way clubs will be obliged to fulfill what is due to the players," he said.
The Sulom GS said the body also distributed the code of conduct to all players.
"For now we are just waiting for the clubs to finish the contracts and furnish us with copies of the same. If clubs don't sign contracts with the players we will deal with them during transfers. We will consider players without contracts as free agents," he said.
The issue of contracts came to the fore early this season when Escom United released almost all their players from the previous season without paying them off.
Although the players had valid com¬plaint, their frustrations lacked basis as there was no contract to substantiate demands they made.
Big Bullets spokesperson Higger Mkandawire welcomed the idea saying it was important for the protection of the players' welfare.
"As Bullets we welcome the idea and we will make sure that we sign a con¬tract with our players. We have already distributed documents to almost all the players and we have advised them to study the documents carefully or seek clarification from third parties so that they should understand before they sign to avoid problems," he said. Mkandawire said one of the reasons clubs have been avoiding the contracts is lack of resources.
"Most clubs are poor that is why they avoid signing contracts because play¬ers would sue clubs if they fail to fulfill contractual obligations," he said.