Relief for AFC Leopards as court dismisses former goalkeeper's multimillion claim

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Relief for AFC Leopards as court dismisses former goalkeeper's multimillion claim

Festus Chuma 19:04 - 31.03.2024

A court in Nairobi dismissed a former AFC Leopards player's lawsuit against the club over unpaid salaries and unfair termination, citing jurisdiction issues.

Former AFC Leopards goalkeeper John Busolo's Ksh3.7 million case against Ingwe was dismissed by Judge James Rika of the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi. 

The decision, made on Thursday, marks the end of a legal battle that highlighted issues within sports employment and contractual disputes.

Busolo, who served both as a keeper and later as a goalkeeper coach for AFC Leopards, had sought compensation following what he claimed was an unfair termination of his contract in 2016.

According to court documents, his grievances included unpaid salaries, bonuses, and allowances, alongside compensation for the abrupt end of his tenure with the club.

The court learned that Busolo was promoted to goalkeeping coach in 2016 but was sidelined shortly after. 

"On April 4, 2016, barely four months into the contract, the Head Coach told the Claimant that he was not going to continue working with him. The Coach hired his own Goalkeeper Trainer. The Claimant was relegated to the training of the Youth Team, contrary to his contract," the documents stated as per Kenyans.

Busolo's claim detailed various components: Ksh200,000 for two months' salary, Ksh360,000 for salary arrears, Ksh90,000 in-house allowance, Ksh60,000 for an unpaid win bonus, Ksh1.8 million for the anticipatory salary for the remainder of his contract, and Ksh1.2 million for 12 months' salary in compensation for what he deemed an unfair termination.

Furthermore, the plaintiff, who is currently coaching in the UK, also requested a certificate of service, interest on the claimed amounts, and the cost of the lawsuit.

In defense, AFC Leopards argued that Busolo had abandoned his position and was never officially employed as a goalkeeper trainer, prompting them to request the dismissal of the suit.

Judge Rika's decision hinged on a critical clause within the contract stipulating that disputes should first be resolved at the management level and then by the Football Kenya Federation (FKF).

 "Any dispute that is not resolved under [a] or [b] above, shall be settled by Arbitration, in accordance with the Arbitration Act 1995, Laws of Kenya, or any statutory modification or re-enactment thereof for the time being in force, or in accordance with FIFA Regulations," the court document elaborated.

Ruling that the court lacked jurisdiction over the case due to the arbitration clause, Judge Rika advised Busolo to seek resolution through the specified forums. 

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