The FIFPro Visit

On the 12 November 2013 FIFPro Division Africa Secretary General and the director of Communication for the division came to our shores, the purpose of the visit was to share with the SADC members of the division, FIFPro expectations with particular reference to professionalization of the unions’ which finds its expression in the MDAS program. This would also give them the opportunity to meet and interact with the rest of the staff that work for different unions. Equally important was to make sure that indeed the unions do have and at any given time do service their broader membership.

We as SAFPU have no doubt that their visit was well received by the unions involved, however for the purpose of this report we would like to subject ourselves to their visit in South Africa. We effectively hosted them from the 16 November 2013, on their way from Zimbabwe. Tired as they looked we took them to a friendly game between two Premier Soccer teams in Mamelodi Sundowns FC and Pretoria University FC, where they had a brief chat with the players. We were also lucky that they had the opportunity albeit very short time to meet one of the players involved in the Zimbabwe Asia gate case.

After the meeting with players we had lunch and headed straight to the business of the day around 16H00. The meeting was attended by both the leadership of the union and staff. The General Secretary indicated that the purpose of the meeting was in the main the strategy and developments for members as envisaged by FIFPro. They would take us through the Member Development and Accountability System (MDAS). A key component of the strategy hinges around building a good relationship with players, because without this component the unions would be non-existent.

It was also clear that the relationship has to be both ways, where players would support the union, union players and importantly the players pledging their support for FIFPro. The SAFPU staff learnt that administrative and technical abilities are not only important in the survival of the union but in the professionalization of the institution as well. The SAFPU would learn that MDAS is a system that emphasizes on issues of good governance, and that with such there would be financial independence.

We also learnt that it was extremely important to keep members informed at all material times about the developments within the union. This would talk to communication tools that we might be using as the union, which would include but not limited to press releases, brochures, sms’es, website and a good database exclusive to the union at all times SAFPU supposed to strive to have a good working relationship with the division. The second day of training we were taken through our paces by Stephan St Raymond, who emphasized the need to work together as a team. He would also emphasize on matters of feedback to all those who are involved so that the information is equally shared, importantly as well is to incentives our members and ensure that we are not conflicted with regards to who do we serve as the leadership of the union.

The second session mainly focussed on the tools of communications, including critical values such as respect, team spirit, solidarity, doping, social dialogue and so forth. In general we have learnt a lot of things at the workshop that we would go and implement in doing our union work. This indeed was an eye opener for all those who participated in the workshop. The unions’ agenda must be clear at all times and should be clearly communicated to all.