Justice and Interior Minister German Vargas Lleras has warned soccer teams that they face signficant punishment if they breach Colombia’s proposed changes to its labor laws.
According to news website Noticias, Vargas announced the government’s plans to amend the law so as to oblige soccer clubs to respect its players’ labor rights. The changes come following the recent failure by a number of teams to pay their players’ wages.
In a Liga Postabon match last week for example, Deportes Quindio fielded its youth team for the game against Millionarios after the first choice team had refused to play following Deportes Quindio’s delay in paying their wages.
The new laws have already been agreed by the Senate and are now awaiting agreement from the House of Representatives and President Juan Manuel Santos.
Labor rights are some of the key issues facing Colombian soccer and as Vargas told local media, the new laws “allow teams to be liquidated if they fail to respect their players’ rights.”
He went on to explain that the laws will lead to increased and improved monitoring of players’ rights and help to ensure that they are respected because the government will now have the power to fine or liquidate clubs who breach them.
Caracol Radio reported that, according to the Deputy Minister for Labor Affairs, Ricardo Andres Echeverry, the first teams to be punished under the new laws will be Deportivo Cali, Corporacion Deportiva America de Cali, Cucuta Deportivo and Atletico Bucaramanga. Their particular fines will range from $850 to $5,665.
Echeverry also stated that a further eight clubs owe their players money, and that these players can now sue for what’s owed to them.
Meanwhile Jairo Clopatofsky, director of Colombia’s Institute for Sport, told Caracol Radio on Monday that the government will send representatives to inspect and assess the financial status of all of Colombia’s teams. Following these inspections, any team found to be in debt to its players will have its sporting recognition suspended or even revoked.
Colombia’s Vice President Angelino Garzon reiterated this, saying that any team that is not economically viable should have its operations immediately suspended.