•Spanish players union backs midfielder
Segunda Division side SD Huesca have threatened legal action against Nigerian midfielder Kelechi Nwakali, after the player claimed he was unjustly treated following the premature termination of his contract by the Spanish side Tuesday, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
But the Spanish Soccer Players Association vowed to challenge the Nigerian’s dismissal, saying it violated the player’s labour rights, to spark a three-way fight between, player, club and the union.
Huesca suspended Nwakali in February after he reported back to the club 10 days late and offered “incredible stories” for his lateness, according to a statement on the club website revealed.
But on Wednesday, Nwakali alleged his contract was terminated by Huesca because he defied the club to represent Nigeria at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
The former Arsenal midfielder stated this in an emotional letter posted on Twitter on Wednesday.
In reply, few hours later, Huesca said they treated the Nigerian with utmost respect, adding that they would take the needed legal action to protect their image.
The Spanish side stated on their website, “On the statements made by Kelechi Nwakali earlier today after premature termination of the contract that bound him and SD Huesca, the club wishes to express its total repudiation given their complete lack of veracity. All of this is done in the conviction that the club has acted at all times with the utmost respect for the player. Nevertheless, in view of the seriousness of certain statements referred to in his notice, this club reserves for itself the right to take the appropriate legal action to defend its rights to protect their legitimate interests.”
The 23-year-old Nwakali, who joined Huesca in 2019 and made 33 appearances for the club before his exit, stated on Twitter that Huesca Sporting Director, Ruben Garcia, threatened to stop him from playing for the club if he joined up with the Eagles in Cameroon.
“It comes with huge regret that I am writing this message after SD Huesca announced the termination of my contract,” Nwakali wrote.
“I have kept silent out of respect for the Huesca fans and my teammates but I will no longer suffer in silence. The time has come for people to know the truth and why these past few months have been awful for me and my family.
“In December 2021, I experienced the biggest honour of my life after I received a full international call up for my beloved Nigeria. But the joy of this moment quickly came crashing down when the club’s Sporting Director, Ruben Garcia, put extreme pressure on me not to go to AFCON due to it ‘not being an important tournament! “Garcia told me that if I attended AFCON I will not play for Huesca again. This behaviour and the lack of respect shown to my country Nigeria was truly heart-breaking and it was just the latest example of the club attempting to bully me into getting their own way.”
He also alleged that Huesca, who he claims still owe him one month’s wage, tried to bully him into signing a new deal at the club after delaying his salaries on several occasions.
“For months the club has been abusing its power to bully me into signing a new contract,” he continued.
“These tactics have included paying me late on numerous occasions.
“The breakdown in negotiations came when my mother fell ill and I asked Ruben for the wages the club already owed me in order to pay for my mother’s hospital bill and treatment. Ruben Garcia responded to my request by saying ‘sign this new contract and we will pay you what’s owed tonight!
“Throughout this time, Huesca has not paid my wages, yet I have remained silent hoping that a reasonable resolution could be found.
“But yesterday (Tuesday) when I turned up to the training ground, a member of the club tried to force me to sign mutual termination papers which I refused to do. I have a family that depends on me, and no player should have to go through this inhumane treatment.
“I will never regret my decision to represent Nigeria and all I want to do is get back to playing the sport I love.”
But AFE, the Spanish players union, insisted that it would defend Nwakali following the violation of the player’s labour rights.
AFE stated, “Given the numerous information that is appearing, some erroneous, AFE wants to clarify that the dismissal will be challenged -as it cannot be otherwise- before the courts of the city of Huesca with the aim of continuing to safeguard the labor rights of the soccer player.
“AFE understands that, with this unilateral resolution adopted by the club, the labor rights of Kelechi Nwakali have been clearly violated.”
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