Lioli boss says they settled Sefoli debt

Lioli boss says they settled Sefoli debt

MASERU – Lioli president Lebohang Thotanyana claims the club has paid an undisclosed amount to former player Thato Sefoli, as ordered by world football’s governing body, FIFA, earlier this year.
In September, Sefoli took the club to FIFA alleging Lioli defaulted on their contractual agreement and demanded the club pay an amount totalling his salary from September 2020 to March 2021.

After hearing both sides, FIFA ruled in favour of the South Africa-born Sefoli and ordered the Vodacom Premier League club to pay the player M73 000 within 45 days.
Failure to pay Sefoli could have resulted in Lioli being banned by FIFA from signing players and, in his closing remarks for the year this week, Thotanyana said Lioli had paid Sefoli although he did not specify the amount.

The Lioli president went on to assure fans the club would not face any punishment from FIFA.
“We are proud to announce we have reached a settlement, and there is no danger facing the club with regards to this matter going forward,” Thotanyana said in the statement released on Monday.

Approached for comment on Tuesday, Lioli management also declined to disclose the amount that was paid to Sefoli and asked the public to take the president’s words as “official.”
Sefoli was released by Lioli at his request in March this year, even though he still had a contract with the Teyateyaneng giants.

At the time football was not being played in the country because of rising Covid-19 cases and when dragging the club to FIFA six months later, Sefoli alleged the club failed to honour the contractual agreement between the two parties by failing to pay him his full salary.
When the pandemic initially stopped football early last year, Lioli cut their players’ salaries by half, including that of Sefoli.

After FIFA ruled in favour of Sefoli, Lioli wrote to FIFA asking for the grounds of the governing body’s judgement. Lioli were adamant they would wait to hear from FIFA first before paying Sefoli.
It is unclear whether or not Lioli have received an explanation from FIFA for its judgement, but the club has apparently paid the money to Sefoli within the 45 days they were given by FIFA.

While arguing the club’s case, Lioli president Thotanyana always insisted ‘Tse Nala’ did everything above board when it comes to player contracts in order to avoid scenarios like this one.
Thotanyana was confident of Lioli’s case to FIFA, but the ruling and its outcome are a blow to Lioli who are struggling financially thanks to the economic effects of the coronavirus.

In his message to the fans this week, Thotanyana said the club faced a lot of problems this year and struggled financially.
He said Lioli’s executive has had to run the club for the past two years with a budget for one season because there was no prize-money given to clubs this year because the 2020/21, which started last September, remains ongoing.

Tlalane Phahla

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