Panjim Footballers Has Not Paid Its Players For 2 Seasons, Says 'Match Fees Not Promised'
Panjim Footballers, the Goan team that played in Indian Women's League 2019, has not paid the match fees to its players.
Panjim Footballers are contemplating non-participation in the upcoming season over monetary and management issues. (Photo Credit: Facebook)
New Delhi: Panjim Footballers, who represented Goa in the third edition of the Indian Women's League (IWL) this year, have not yet paid salaries to their players for the matches held in the IWL qualifiers and the final round, held in Ludhiana from May 5 to May 18.
News18.com found that the football club has not paid any of the players who represented them for the past two seasons.
"I played for Panjim Footballers in 2017-18 season but then I switched clubs in the next season because they did not pay me for playing and I did not want to put up with that injustice," one of the players told News18.com on the condition of anonymity.
While one player was able to make the switch, many kept playing for the club and are afraid to speak up.
Another player, who requested not to be named, said that the players individually contacted the management several times asking for their salaries but were constantly denied.
"We were told that 'we provided you with games and training facilities, what else do you expect from us?' Ahead of the season, we were promised some payment, although an exact amount was not mentioned," the player revealed.
The players have not filed an official complaint with the Goa Football Association (GFA) because they are apprehensive of the association's reaction and fear that if they go public with their complaint, their career might be as good as over.
Players also expressed reservations over playing for Panjim Footballers again.
In IWL 2019, Panjim finished fourth in Group A, which had five other teams. The Goan football club ended up winning one of their five matches, drew one and lost three.
A COMMON STRUGGLE
In the IWL qualifiers in Goa last year, Cuncolim Union players boycotted an entire match to protest against the treatment meted out to them.
On November 10, 2018, Cuncolim players refused to play their match against FC Goa because of the management's apathy towards them. They were not provided any transport for the practice and matches despite the fact that the girls were travelling from far off places. On top of that, they were not even paid for the matches and no travel allowance was given to them.
However, the captain Malvita Mascarenhas was blamed for turning the entire group against the management. "Incidents such as Malvita's does not inspire enough confidence in the girls to speak up for themselves," a player said.
News18.com accessed the letter that Mascarenhas wrote to the President of GFA where she explained the reasons behind the protest. The captain listed out ten broad-based reasons behind their conduct, calling out unprofessional treatment from Prakash Dessai, the manager of Cuncolim Union.
Eight clubs took part in IWL qualifiers in Goa last season - FC Goa, Churchill Brothers, Panjim Footballers, Sporting Clube de Goa, Ambedim Sports Club, Goa Velha Sports Club, Cuncolim Union and Albert Developers Sports Club. Out of these eight, only FC Goa and Albert have paid salaries to their players.
FC Goa pays Rs 800 per match and in addition to that, the players are compensated with travel expenses for training within Goa. In the previous season, Albert paid Rs 1,750 per match to their players, which included the travel expenses as well.
A player said that pursuing women's football in India is anyway a tough prospect and on top of that, if a girl does not get monetary rewards for her efforts, she loses the zeal to keep playing and eventually moves away from the game.
PANJIM DENIES, GFA PASSES BUCK
Panjim Footballers, however, have denied that they made any promise of match fees to the players. A club official told News18.com that they compensated the players for their travel for training within Goa and took care of the travel and accommodation expenses for the IWL.
However, the official also conceded that Panjim are contemplating disbanding the women's team as they are finding it difficult to manage the expenses and on top of that, since they have to work with a fresh team every season, it gets difficult to train the girls from scratch.
GFA is currently following the draft system for the IWL qualifiers where teams pick chits to choose players from the pool.
Carol Gomes, chairperson of the Women's Committee of Goa Football Association, said that they are planning to speak to the managers of all the clubs that have women teams and set a standard pay for every player.
She said that the GFA women's committee cannot deal with the dues from the previous seasons but going forward, they are trying to make sure that every player gets paid for her efforts.
GFA acting secretary Jovito Lopes said that the association has not received any official complaint on the non-payment of salaries and therefore, they, cannot take any action against any club.
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