As usual, during any transfer window a number of controversial moves spring up, the recent being that of Rwanda left-back Emmanuel Imanishimwe, who crossed from Rayon Sports to archrivals APR FC.
The move made headlines before it was sorted out a day before the kickoff of the new season. The left-back penned a two-year contract extension with Rayon Sports in July, but a day later APR confirmed him as their player on a two-year deal.
On Thursday, the media camped at the FERWAFA headquarters in Remera for hours waiting for the final decision on all controversial transfers, which were headlined by players crossing from Rayon Sports to APR and vice versa.
The long battle between the two sworn enemies, who were fighting for four players including Imanishimwe, Abdul Rwatubyaye, Nova Bayama and Yves Rwigema, was finally sorted.
FERWAFA officials, emerging from an emergency meeting , delivered their verdict on the players, confirming that league champions APR didn’t break any rules in signing Imanishimwe from Rayon, while the latter were also right to sign both winger Bayama and centre-back Rwigema from APR.
For Rwatubyaye, FERWAFA said they are waiting for him to show up before his case can be addressed.
Rayon Sports signed Rwigema, Rwatubyaye and Bayama, who came through the APR academy but the army side had refused to give them release letters, but following Thursday’s meeting, both Rwigema and Bayama got their licenses the next day.
Following FERWAFA’s counsel, Rayon Sports are supposed to pay APR Rfw1 million for Rwigema and Bayama, while APR will pay Rwf3.2 million for Imanishimwe.
For starters, over the years, the transfer of players, especially in the top local teams, has been a mess with clubs snatching players without regard of the rules.
The cause of this is mostly lack of proper implementation of the transfer rules and regulations by FERWAFA.
All teams and players love to exploit loopholes in rules for different reasons. That happens whenever the regulator is sleeping on the job.
For the past 10 years or so, the issue of illegal transfer and dual names has been an Achilles heel in local football.
It has continued to remain problematic, with clubs signing players illegally, players getting enticed to make ‘lucrative’ moves when they still have binding contracts elsewhere, and it seems the habit won’t be coming to an end anytime soon.
Imagine a player getting two different identities? It may not be surprising that the players are assisted either by FERWAFA or their respective clubs, but most likely both.
And how can a player sign for two clubs in less than 48 hours and life moves on as if nothing wrong has happened, at least from FERWAFA’s perspective?
Yet, in any case, that is even not so hard to eliminate; the question is, is FERWAFA willing to act when the rules are being flouted under their watch?
In Imanishimwe’s saga, I was not surprised when APR’s secretary general Adolphe ‘Camalade’ Kalisa admitted, “At times, we the clubs should take the blame for all this transfer mess.”
Notably, the use of legally registered agents should be accentuated given the fact that most players don’t even have them, neither do they interpret and understand these contract terms.
I was shocked to learn that most of all these transfers are carried out personally by players without any agents or managers accompanying them, no wonder they will always be exploited and confused, especially by the big clubs
Its high time FERWAFA started taking the transfer issue very seriously, perhaps it should take a hard look at the rules, and also learn from best practices elsewhere.
After all, football rules are standard across the world.
And, there are easy solutions to such transfer rackets. For instance, why can’t clubs try to avoid this mess by keeping their players happy, and if they can’t, then let them leave.
As for FERWAFA, they should try and learn some lessons and start to enforce standard transfer rules and regulations, anything outside of that will only exasperate the already appalling status quo.