Juve terminate Kickster's licence
Italian giants' soccer school HQ will monitor compliance situation
The headquarters of Juventus Soccer School (JSS) - Juventus Merchandising (JM) - is disappointed with how its former licensee, Kickster, has managed the brand in Singapore.
And it has moved to distance itself from the mire of salary and rent disputes that Kickster managing director, Jiri Cerny, has dragged the company into.
Responding to queries from The New Paper, Carolina Chiappero, JSS's international project coordinator, made it clear that JM has nothing to do with Cerny's manifestation of JSS.
"We're very disappointed for what (has) happened in Singapore, but it should not be considered as a JM issue, as it is a Kickster issue, limited to a project which has now closed," she said, in an e-mail reply.
"We were informed (of the Singapore situation) and have taken prompt measures with Kickster, which is the only entity liable for what happened.
"Kickster had obtained a JSS licence from JM - a totally Nike-owned company - having shown all necessary requirements to become a partner. However, Kickster's licence was terminated."
TNP had earlier reported (May 14) that Kickster was hauled before the Ministry of Manpower and also served notice to respond to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board for salaries and CPF payments owed to its employees.
It was also locked out of its office premises at Suntec by former landlord Servcorp, who declined to reveal the amount it was owed.
Kickster was due to pay one employee - Fadzli Sahat - $9,000 amounting to some four months of wages by May 12, but failed to meet that deadline.
While it did pay Fadzli $5,000 on May 18, as of press time, the remainder has yet to be settled.
It is a similar story for another former employee, Gan Meng Yeow, who was promised $2,000 by Cerny, but has yet to receive a single dollar, as of last night.
Servcorp has taken the legal route to recoup the monies it is owed.
"Kickster is under an obligation to comply with any and all statutory obligations, including those binding Kickster with its partners, suppliers and employees in connection with the project now ended," continued the statement from Chiappero.
"We are monitoring Kickster and expect it to resolve all matters promptly, (with it) being understood that this matter does not affect JSS and has no connection or impact with any reliable third party interested in soccer schools projects."
Kickster director Cerny wrote to parents of current JSS trainees last month, informing them that JSS will cease existing in its current form on June 30, but will instead continue business under another banner.
Cerny's JSS website - www.juveasia.com - has already been taken down.
In a statement released on May 18, Kickster apologised to some of its former employees, while asserting that two others had no claim on alleged owed wages.
"We apologise for the delay to our former full-time employees, as well as to Servcorp. Kickster would (like to) announce that outstanding payments for former full-time employees have started to be solved and all issues will be finished shortly," said the statement, which also carried an apology for the use of the Football Association of Singapore logo on its website.
It claimed that one employee - Scotsman Richard Harcus - was on a "volunteering contract", while it did not agree to pay another employee a portion of wages because the company claimed he "didn't deliver the work required".
The Kickster statement ended cryptically, saying: "We would like to apologise for this campaign trying to scandalise the Juventus brand to Juventus FC, JSS, all our members and partners as well."