Trat FC winger Adefolarin Durosinmi is keen to set the record straight after reading many of the rumours that have been circulating since the Covid-19 crisis halted the 2020 season.
It has been reported that Durosinmi’s contract has been terminated and that the Nigerian refused to accept a pay cut in line with his team-mates. The club has also claimed that Durosinmi’s performances on the pitch were not satisfactory, though he has hit 13 goals and made eight assists in 39 games since joining the club last year.
After the original suspension of the league early in March, a restart date in early May was tentatively scheduled. However, in mid-April, the Thai League announced plans to resume action in September, which meant a new calendar altogether.
It was clear that clubs had to take drastic action to limit the financial damage, but Durosinmi was not happy with the way this was managed.
“An official from the club told us that they would pay us just 50 per cent of our salaries from May until we started training again,” Durosinmi told ThaiFootie. “We agreed with this, and someone else called me personally, and I said I was fine with that.
“A couple of weeks later, my agent called me to say he had received a message to say that the club could not afford to pay me what they were paying and that I should start looking for another team as they wanted to cancel my contract.
“This was around April 28th and the message was sent through LINE chat. My agent asked for something more official to confirm that the club genuinely wanted to cancel my contract.
“A couple of days letter, we received a letter with wording that suggested I had agreed to cancel my contract. It mentioned the fee for cancelling the contract but every other fee that I was owed was not mentioned in the letter.”
Obviously, it came as surprise to see a letter of agreement that had not involved any negotiation, never mind agreement.
“I was shocked and I asked to talk to the boss to clarify why this was happening. I wanted to know if I had done anything wrong.
“It was made clear that they could not afford to pay me because I was the highest earner in the team. They said that even at 50 per cent, the salary was still too high. So I asked them what they proposed – was it just about the money?
“I then got a call to propose that I take just 40 per cent of my salary and that if I didn’t accept it, they would cancel my contract. At this point, all of the other players had been paid their full salary for April and I was still waiting because of the uncertainty over my future.
“If they wanted just me to make an extra sacrifice, I was ready to consider it, but I also wanted my salary paid before I could negotiate this.
“It was then reported in the media that I wouldn’t accept a pay cut and I was so surprised. I had indicated that I was ready to accept 40 per cent.
“They also put in the media that my form was not good. I don’t want to defend myself on this, but preparation for the new season was very bad. We prepared just one month and played a few friendlies. If you are going to come and say that the highest-paid player in the team is not in form, and you want to get rid of him, there is something wrong.
“If it was about my form, why did no one come and talk to me about it? I played in all of the games before we stopped.”
Durosinmi still hoped that there could be a satisfactory outcome when a meeting was arranged. He presumed that this was to find a way out either by agreeing on the terms for a contract termination or to officially agree on a pay cut.
“On May 12th, a meeting was set up at the stadium,” he said. “I thought that maybe they wanted to pay my salary or maybe they wanted me to sign something as an agreement to accept 40 per cent.
“Instead, they had prepared a letter for a contract termination. It was the same letter that they had originally written, with the same date – so backdated to April 30th.
“They brought the money that makes up the cancellation fee, but they still hadn’t paid me my signing-on fee and April’s salary. I asked why they had bothered to suggest paying me 40 per cent when this was the outcome.
“Now it was clear that this never a negotiation. I was ready to accept 40 per cent but they said we want to cancel the contract. So I said fine, if you want to cancel the contract, let’s make sure we do everything that is written in the contract and both parties will be fine.”
According to Durosinmi, the club had failed to make the necessary preparations that would have allowed him to give his consent.
“In my contract, they have to give me a flight ticket home, but they didn’t have that ready,” he said. “The salary for April was given as a cheque and it was just 50 per cent of my salary.
“And why did they have a cheque? They had never paid me by cheque before. If I went to the bank the next day and was unable to cash the cheque, what was I supposed to do? I refused to sign without having everything settled.
“Now it is not about me not wanting to cancel my contract, it is about them not giving what I am supposed to get.
“I was even asked to leave my house on June 1st because they claimed that my contract had already been cancelled. The owner of the house came to me and asked me to pay the rent. This showed that they no longer respected the contract that includes my accommodation fees.
“In the contract, it was stated that if the club wanted the cancel the contract, the player would sign first and then the club would sign. They have come up with all sorts of things in the media to make it appear that they have done nothing wrong.”
In 2019, Durosinmi made up a fearsome front three that also included the league’s top scorer Lonsana Doumbouya and Bireme Diouf. Trat ended the season in 10th place and scored the sixth highest number of goals.
Durosinmi’s contributions were invaluable, particularly when he helped destroy champions Chiang Rai United in a 3-1 home victory. He has played in every match since joining the club, including cup games, even sporting the captain’s armband on two occasions this year. But Trat lost almost every regular starter with the exception of the Nigerian before the 2020 campaign started.
“Even the players in the team are confused that they have complained about my form,” he added. “In two of the games this season, I was the only player who had been with the club last year. Everyone else was a new player.
“It’s so difficult and you can’t expect me to work miracles. I was playing with Lonsana and Bireme Diouf last year and how long did it take before we could understand each other? After four games last year, we had just two points even with players of that quality.
“Now we have a lot of different players who need time to gel. Why doesn’t the club take the blame for the poor preparation for the new season rather than saying that one particular player is in poor form. We have scored just one goal this season, but it was me who made the assist. The fans have been lovely and very supportive, and I appreciate that.”
With clubs losing sponsorship money, TV money and gate receipts, it is understandable that they need to cut costs and players have generally accepted this.
It is unfortunate that the media has apparently been used to spread rumours that cannot be substantiated. There was a similar issue when claims were made that Dragan Boskovic would not accept a 50 per cent pay cut at Chonburi – claims he quickly dismissed as fake news.
Durosinmi’s longevity in Thailand highlights his value as a player, but this unfortunate episode does not reflect well on how clubs handle tricky contractual situations.
As far as Durosimni is concerned, he remains a Trat FC player until the outstanding issues have been resolved, while the club insist his contract has been cancelled. He has been encouraged by the club to take his case to the Football Association of Thailand, but he insists he doesn’t want to take it further – he just wants his contract to be respected.