Lioli off the hook

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Leemisa Thuseho

LIOLI has averted a possible player signing ban from the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA).

This after the side managed to pay the funds that it owed its former defender, Thato Sefoli this week.

Had the club not paid the money, it would have been banned from signing players for the next three consecutive seasons.

Lioli were in trouble with FIFA over unfair labour practice involving the Sefoli. The South African defender joined Tse Nala from GladAfrica championship side, Real Kings, in January 2020.

The trouble started when the defender accused Lioli of contravening its contractual obligations. This after the club failed to pay him his full salary from September 2020 until March 2021. Early last year, Sefoli then lodged a complaint with FIFA to force Lioli to pay him.

From September 2020 to March 2021, the player was getting only 50 percent of his M10 000 salary. He only received 70 percent once. He therefore, asked the team to release him in March 2021 when his contract was supposed to be running until May last year.

FIFA later summoned Tse Nala and ordered the team to pay Sefoli M33 000 in outstanding salaries and a further M40 000 in compensation.

In December last year, the team announced that it had fulfilled its obligations to the player. However, surprisingly the team received a letter from FIFA last week informing the side that there was still an outstanding balance. Failing to pay it would have seen the team being banned from signing any new players for three consecutive transfer windows.

Lioli president, Lebohang Thotanyana confirmed to this publication this week that they have since paid the balance. He said they were unaware of the figure before FIFA wrote to the club. The outstanding money was meant for interest, he said.

“I can confirm that we have settled the balance and our team will not affected as far as signing of players is concerned,” Thotanyana said.

“All along, we were not aware of the interest because FIFA was sending messages to an email that was being used by our resigned general manger, so we failed to get the messages on time.”

Thotanyana disclosed to this publication that the remaining balance was only M2000 and the club settled it on Monday.

“We got the letter informing us about the danger we were facing if didn’t pay the remaining money and on Monday we paid. The letter was clear that the ban would remain in place if we don’t settle the debt.

“On Monday, FIFA wrote to us confirming that we have fulfilled all our obligations and that the ban had been lifted.”

On his part, Sefoli said he just received a call on Monday from his agent confirming the payment.

“Yes, I got a call on Monday from my agent telling me that the team had paid the remaining balance,” Sefoli told the Lesotho Times yesterday.

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