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FIFPRO has 'grave concerns' about CAS

Footballers' union says sports court rulings are 'contradictory and confusing'

Professional footballers’ union FIFPRO has said it has “grave concerns about contradictory decisions” that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is rendering in cases regarding so-called sporting succession – when a football club shuts down and returns as a new legal entity.

In a statement FIFPRO said that in recent years, there has been a “surge in the number of clubs which returned to football while denying being responsible for the debts of the previous entity”.

In 2018, FIFPRO wrote to FIFA asking to update its regulations to tackle this legal loophole.

The FIFPRO statement continued: “In 2019, FIFA introduced a straightforward provision in its disciplinary code to increase legal certainty and ensure financial justice for creditors including players owed wages.

“The FIFA Disciplinary Code states clearly that the sporting successor of a club shall be held responsible for the obligations of its predecessor. Yet, the jurisprudence of CAS on this subject over the last two years is highly confusing, contradictory and moves away from both the intention as well as the literal text of the relevant provision in the FIFA Disciplinary Code.”

FIFPRO said that in the last two years, for example, there had been seven CAS decisions concerning players of the Bulgarian club CSKA-Sofia, under which four of the players will be compensated by the newly formed CSKA-Sofia, whereas the other three will not.

FIFPRO legal director Roy Vermeer (pictured) said: “The rule is very clear and we do not understand why it is not being applied to its text and intention by CAS.

“These contradictory decisions simply dissuade players from exercising their rights because, in a worst-case scenario, they end up not only being left unpaid, but also having to cover the arbitration costs and legal costs of the opposite party.

“If this continues, it is impossible to advise players on what their rights are on this subject which is a very undesirable situation.”

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