Qatar Players Association President, Salman A. Al-Ansari, hosted the press in a friendly gathering on the 31st of October 2016 to explain the steps taken by the Qatar Players Association to protect the players’ rights specifically with regard to the additional contracts (unregistered contracts) signed by the clubs, and how the Qatar Players Association was able to convince the Qatar Football Association and the Ministry of Culture and Sports to support the settlements after having previously rejected it.
Qatar Players Association Role
Mr. Al-Ansari commenced by explaining the Qatar Players Association role and its main object pursuant to its Articles of Association, which is to defend players and enhance the environment in which they practice their profession. He added that Qatar Players Association had successfully completed its first year and was able to achieve its short-term goals as well as some of its mid-term goals, and explained how one of the most important matter to tackle is the outstanding financial issues of the players.
Furthermore, Mr. Al-Ansari indicated that the negotiation with Qatar Football Association and the Ministry of Culture and Sports took six months after which the Qatar Football Association agreed to grant an additional extension up to October, 15 2016 to resolve the additional contracts issues and the Ministry of Culture and Sports agreed to support the settlements financially through the amounts allocated for the clubs as government supports.
Mr. Al-Ansari explained that Qatar Players Association faced an additional problem due to the outstanding amounts from both the registered contracts and additional contracts. He added that the Ministry of Culture and Sports was clear that the financial government support allocated to the clubs will not be sufficient to cover all outstanding amounts, indicating that Qatar Players Association insisted that all registered contracts shall be paid without any deductions and that the negotiation will only include the additional contracts. Based on that, the Qatar Football Association and Ministry of Culture and Sports had the following conditions:
- The settlements shall be completed by 15 October 2016 after which the regulations will be enforced against those who violate them.
- Qatar Football Association will not be responsible for any financing required for such settlements.
- The Ministry of Culture and Sports will only negotiate with the Qatar Players Association.
- The Qatar Players Association shall provide a special Authorization Letter in relation to these settlements.
Settlements Percentage and Date
The Qatar Players Association President confirmed that the percentage to be paid in relation to the additional contracts have not been decided on by the Qatar Players Association itself, but rather it was decided by the Ministry of Culture and Sports based on the government support allocated for the clubs. In addition, both organizations worked together to resolve the additional contracts dilemma ensuring that it should not be less than 40% of the total amount of the additional contract for those who do not have a registered contract and 100% from the total amount of the registered contract.
In addition, Mr. Al-Ansari indicated that the last day to submit the settlements is 7 days from date of the Ministry of Culture and Sports’ letter, which was on October 12, 2016, after which time the Ministry of Culture and Sports will be responsible to pay any amounts. He explained that the settlements included four clubs: Alwakrah, Alrayyan, Alkhor and Um Salal, as phase one.
QPA’s Authorization Letter
Mr. Al-Ansari has confirmed that the Qatar Players Association adhered to the conditions agreed upon with the Ministry, based on which the authorization letter was drafted. The letter included three points: the first is an authorization to negotiate the additional contracts, the second is that such negotiation will be conducted exclusively by Qatar Players Association, and third is that an amount would be deducted and deposited into the players’ account at the Players Pension Fund. He further noted that Qatar Players Association explained all aspects of same to the players so that they can make an informed decision in relation to the settlements.
In addition, he indicated that this dilemma was created by the clubs mainly because they have offered amounts in violation to the regulations and such payment amounts was unable to be sustained by them, after which the clubs requested government support and handed over the additional contracts to the Ministry of Culture and Sports which, in its turn, handed them to the Qatar Football Association. The additional contracts dilemma was only resolved due to the Qatar Players Association’s intervention and negotiation.
Qatar Players Association President announced that the first phase included 106 players, out of which 104 players signed and received their amounts. On the other hand, four players refused to enter into the settlement and the Qatar Players Association respected their decision.
Players Pension Fund
Mr. Al-Ansari announced that the Qatar Players Association was successful in obtaining the necessary approvals to set a pension fund for the players. Such fund will serve the football players in the State of Qatar, whether locally or internationally. He further added that the fund system is based on a monthly contribution where the player will be paid such contributions and an additional amount as his end of service reward once he reached the end of his career.
In addition, Mr. Al-Ansari indicated that the settlement agreement contained a deduction from the player and the club which will be deposited in the player account at the Players Pension Fund.
Qatar Players Association First Anniversary Achievements
During the interview, Mr. Al-Ansari went through the main achievements for the organization during its first year:
- Raising the players’ appraisal, from 20 times the appraisal to 40 times the appraisal, as an interim solution until the financial regulation is negotiated.
- MoU was signed with the Qatar Football Association and the Qatar Stars League based on which Qatar Players Association got representation in all committees related to player,s including the league executive committee.
- Having two seats allocated for Qatar Players Association at the Foundation of Sports Arbitration general assembly in addition to a seat on its board.
- Creating the Players Pension Fund.
- Restricting the players’ appraisal to include four main components: technical, behavioral, educational and social responsibility.
- Organizing the interaction with the league where Qatar Players Association shall ensure players’ right to be heard is observed before any punishment enforcement.
- In addition to resolving many financial and non-financial issued between the players and their clubs.
Restructuring the Players’ Appraisal
Mr. Al-Ansari explained that Qatar Players Association was successful in convincing the league to restructure the players’ appraisal to include an additional three components as well as the technical appraisal. The new system includes educational, behavioral and social responsibility components. Such new system will create a balance between the technical and non-technical aspects.
Settlements Payment Impending
Mr. Al-Ansari explained that all settlement agreement including the necessary documents have been submitted to the Ministry of Culture and Sports, where all payments will be made within 7 working days beginning on 26 October 26, 2016.
Settlements for the Remaining Clubs
The first phase of the players’ settlements included players of four clubs: Alrayyam, Alkhor, Um Salal and Alwarkah, and the rest of the players in the remaining clubs are not going to be in violation of the regulations because they have complied with the conditions agreed upon between all parties. He added that the Qatar Players Association are in discussions with the Ministry of Culture and Sports to complete the settlements for all players.
Resolving Alarabi and Alrayyan Foreign Players Outstanding
Qatar Players Association intervened to resolve the delayed payment of Alarabi and Alrayyan foreign players’ outstanding amounts. He added, that the foreign players in both clubs were not paid for 3 months, where the Qatar Players Association filed a complaint to the Qatar Football Association and pushed for the payment to be made and deducted from the club’s future dues. The players were paid their outstanding amounts due to the direct intervention of Qatar Players Association. This demonstrates that as a players’ association the Qatar Players Association are focused on players regardless of their nationality and status.
Foreign Players Committee
During the interview, Mr. Al-Ansari indicated that there is a committee responsible for the funding of the foreign players, which is chaired by the Minister and vice chaired by Qatar Football Association’s President. He added that the Qatar Players Association is pushing to restructure the payment methodology to be direct to the players through the league as it is the case with the local players.
Not Giving Away Players Rights and Resorting to the FQSA/QSAT
Qatar Players Association is not going to give away any of the players’ rights and will use the Foundation of Qatar Sports Arbitration when needed, Mr. Al-Ansari said. He added, the clubs need to spend as per their budgets and such spending should be monitored to ensure that the players receive their payments on time. Further, he added, that the Qatar Players Association is working with the football organization through the financial fair play committee to come up with a system that will help us achieve the players’ protection they seek.
The Additional Contracts are a Joint Responsibility
Mr. Al-Ansari did not specify a date to settle all additional contracts but indicated that he hopes to have the process finished by the current season. He added, we hope that all clubs will abide by their budgets and should not promise players with amounts they cannot pay and shall not act in violation of the regulations.
In addition, Qatar Players Association President indicated that the additional contracts dilemma is a joint mistake amongst clubs, agents and players. He explained that the Qatar Players Association advises players to not deal with unlicensed intermediaries because it jeopardizes their rights and subjects them to liability.
Mr. Al-Ansari Concluded that the Ministry of Culture and Sports accepted to finance the settlement due to Qatar Players Association involvement.
Source: Qatar Newspapers