Four players, whose contracts were on Thursday terminated by Western Stima FC in austerity measures, are now contemplating legal action against the Kenyan Premier League club, claiming they were unfairly dismissed.
The four — veteran defender David Ojwang’, Kevin Ochieng’, Augustine Kuta and Luke Ochieng’ — have been on the injury list and claim they are being “sacrificed” by club officials
But Western Stima FC chairman Laban Jobita said the players had been dismissed after the team exhausted its budget for this season. The team is backed by Kenya Power.
Jobita also clarified that the company has not withdrawn its sponsorship, dismissing reports that all player contracts had been terminated.
Earlier, reports indicated that Kenya Power's budget for the club this season was Sh30 million, out of which Sh19 million has been used, with the remaining Sh11 million not able to sustain the side for the remainder of the season.
“Our sponsors gave us a budget which we have surpassed, and the only remedy was to get rid of some players that are surplus to our requirements,” Jobita told Nation Sport.
“It was a painful decision to take but we don’t have any other option because I have to take measures to sustain the club till the end of the season,” he added.
A statement from Kenya Power also rebuffed the claims of sponsorship withdrawal. “It is not true because Kenya Power has no contracts with the clubs. We are the sponsor for the teams and provide budgets for them to operate within. Contracts are signed between clubs and players and we have no control over that,'' the statement said.
Speaking to Nation Sport, Ojwang lamented that they were unfairly axed yet they suffered injuries while playing for the club and have been servicing the cost of treatment from their own salaries.
“Why didn’t they release us during the January transfer window when we could get new clubs? The club has never paid for our treatment and ceased to pay match-winning bonuses as a way of reducing costs of operation. I got injured in our match against Sony Sugar and the chairman told me to take care of my expenses,” he said.
He further took issue with Jobita for forcing them to append their signatures to prove that they had received termination letters but they declined.