F.I.F.A. – Players’ Status Committee / Commissione per lo Status dei Calciatori – players’ and match agents disputes / controversie agenti di calciatori – (2020-2021) – fifa.com – atto non ufficiale – Decision of the Single Judge of the Players’ Status Committee passed in Zurich, Switzerland, on 26 January 2021
Decision of the
Single Judge of the PSC
passed on 26 January 2021
regarding a contractual dispute concerning the player SABIT ABDULAI
COMPOSITION: Johan van Gaalen (South Africa), Single Judge of the PSC
Spartans FC, Ghana
Represented by Mr Juan de Dios Crespo Pérez and Mr Alessandro Mosca
Extremadura UD, Spain
Represented by Mr Gaspar Romero
1.On 18 June 2019, the Claimant and the Respondent entered into a transfer agreement (hereinafter: ‘the agreement’) for the transfer of the player Sabit Abdulai (hereinafter: ‘the player’) from the Ghananian club Spartans Football Club (hereinafter: the Claimant) to the Spanish club Extremadura UD (hereinafter: the Respondent) for a transfer compensation of EUR 200,000.2.Pursuant to article 2 (price and method of payment) of the agreement, the parties agreed that the transfer compensation payment will be due and payable in two instalments as follows:‘As economic consideration on the aforementioned rights, the price agreed by the parties is TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND EUROS 200,000 EUROS), the payments being distributed as follows:-EUR 100 000 to be paid on July 31, 2020-EUR 100 000 to be paid on March 1, 2021’.3.The Respondent however failed to fulfil its financial obligations as stipulated in the agreement, by not paying the first instalment of EUR 100,000, on the due date of 31 July 2020.4.On 3 August 2020, the Claimant sent a letter to the Respondent together with invoices, notifying the Respondent of its failure to pay the due amount by 31 July 2020 and requested immediate payment of the outstanding amount of EUR 100,000, providing a deadline of 10 days to remedy its default.5.On 31 August 2020, the Claimant sent a final notice, to the Respondent, granting it a 10 days’ deadline to pay the outstanding amount of EUR 100,000, however to no avail.6.On 15 September 2020, the Claimant lodged a claim against the Respondent before FIFA, claiming the total amount of EUR 100,000 plus 5% interest p.a. as from 31 July 2020, on the following basis:a)the debt owed to the Claimant ought to be enforced by virtue of article 12bis of the FIFA Regulation on the Status and Transfer of Players; or in the alternativeb)that the Respondent has unilaterally breached the contract and violated the principle of pacta sunt servanda and ought to remunerate the Claimant appropriately pursuant to the terms of the transfer agreement.7.In its reply to the claim, the Respondent, accepted the claim as lodged by the Claimant accordingly, the Respondent asked that the FIFA Players` Status Committee issue an award as follows:
a)accepting the claim;
b)that the Respondent pay the Claimant for unilateral breach of contract equal to EUR100,000 net plus five percent per annum interest rate starting from 31 July 2020, with theexpress statement that by the completion of the payment no other claim can be enforcedregarding the Transfer Agreement; and
c)that no legal fees, costs shall be imposed to Extremadura UD, nor assuming entirely thePSC administration and procedural fees.
II.CONSIDERATIONS OF THE SINGLE JUDGE OF THE PSC
1.First of all, the Single Judge of the PSC (hereinafter also referred to as the Single Judge) analysedwhether he was competent to deal with the case at hand. Taking into account the wording ofart. 21 of the June 2020 edition of the Rules Governing the Procedures of the Players’ StatusCommittee and the Dispute Resolution Chamber (hereinafter: the Procedural Rules), theaforementioned edition of the Procedural Rules is applicable to the matter at hand.
2.Subsequently, the Single Judge of the PSC referred to art. 3 par. 1 of the Procedural Rules andemphasized that, in accordance with art. 24 par. 1 in combination with art. 22 lit. f) of theRegulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, the Single Judge of the PSC is competent todeal with disputes between clubs belonging to different associations.
3.In continuation, the Single Judge of the PSC analysed which edition of the Regulations of theStatus and Transfer of Players should be applicable to the present matter. In this respect, the SingleJudge of the PSC confirmed that in accordance with art. 26 par. 1 and 2 of the Regulations onthe Status and Transfer of Players, and considering that the claim was lodged on 15 September2020, the August 2020 edition of the aforementioned regulations (hereinafter: the Regulations)is applicable to the matter at hand.
4.With the above having been established, the Single Judge of the PSC entered into the substanceof the matter. In doing so, it started to acknowledge the facts of the case as well as the documentscontained in the file. However, the Single Judge of the PSC emphasized that in the followingconsiderations it will refer only to facts, arguments and documentary evidence, which itconsidered pertinent for the assessment of the matter at hand.
5.In this respect, the Single Judge noted that, on 18 June 2019, the parties concluded an agreementfor the permanent transfer of the player, Sabit Abdulai, from the Claimant to the Respondent,against payment of a transfer compensation in the amount of EUR 200,000, which was payablein two instalments, as follows:
-EUR 100,000 to be paid on 31 July 2020;
-EUR 100,000 to be paid on 1 March 2021.
6. Subsequently, the Single Judge observed that the Claimant lodged a claim before FIFA against the Respondent, maintaining that the Respondent has overdue payables towards it in the total amount of EUR 100,000, corresponding to the first instalment due in respect of the agreed transfer fee.
7. In this context, the Single Judge took particular note of the fact that, on 3 August 2020, the Claimant put the Respondent in default of payment of the aforementioned amount, setting a time limit of 10 days in order to remedy the default.
8. The Single Judge further noted that on 31 August 2020, the Claimant sent a final notice, to the Respondent, granting it again a time limit of 10 days in order to remedy the default.
9. Consequently, the Single Judge concluded that the Claimant had duly proceeded in accordance with art. 12bis par. 3 of the Regulations, which stipulates that the creditor (player or club) must have put the debtor club in default in writing and have granted a deadline of at least ten days for the debtor club to comply with its financial obligation(s).
10. Subsequently, the Single Judge took into account that the Respondent, for its part, did not contest the claim of the Claimant, hence the Claimant’s allegations remained uncontested.
11. Taking into account the documentation presented by the Claimant, the Single Judge concluded that the Claimant had substantiated its claim pertaining to overdue payables with sufficient documentary evidence.
12. On account of the aforementioned considerations, the Single Judge established that the Respondent failed to remit the Claimant’s transfer fee in the amount of EUR 100,000, corresponding to the overdue first instalment under the transfer agreement.
13. In addition, the Single Judge established that the Respondent had delayed a due payment for more than 30 days without a prima facie contractual basis.
14. Consequently, the Single Judge decided that, in accordance with the general legal principle of pacta sunt servanda, the Respondent is liable to pay to the Claimant the total amount of EUR 100,000 plus 5% interest p.a. on the said amount as from 31 July 2020 until the date of effective payment.
15. In continuation, bearing in mind the foregoing considerations, the Single Judge referred to art.12bis par. 2 of the Regulations, which stipulates that any club found to have delayed a due payment for more than 30 days without a prima facie contractual basis may be sanctioned in accordance with art. 12bis par. 4 of the Regulations.
16. The Single Judge established that in virtue of art. 12bis par. 4 of the Regulations he has competence to impose sanctions on the Respondent. Therefore, and in the absence of the circumstance of repeated offence, the Single Judge decided to impose a warning on the Respondent in accordance with art. 12bis par. 4 lit. a) of the Regulations.
17. Furthermore, the Single Judge referred to par. 1 and 2 of art. 24bis of the Regulations, which stipulate that, with its decision, the pertinent FIFA deciding body shall also rule on the consequences deriving from the failure of the concerned party to pay the relevant amounts of outstanding remuneration and/or compensation in due time.
18. In this regard, the Single Judge pointed out that, against clubs, the consequence of the failure to pay the relevant amounts in due time shall consist of a ban from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, up until the due amounts are paid and for the maximum duration of three entire and consecutive registration periods.
19. Therefore, bearing in mind the above, the Single Judge decided that, in the event that the Respondent does not pay the amounts due to the Claimant within 45 days as from the moment in which the Claimant, following the notification of the present decision, communicates the relevant bank details to the Respondent, a ban from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, for the maximum duration of three entire and consecutive registration periods shall become effective on the Respondent in accordance with art. 24bis par. 2 and 4 of the Regulations.
20. Finally, the Single Judge recalled that the above-mentioned ban will be lifted immediately and prior to its complete serving upon payment of the due amounts, in accordance with art. 24bis par. 3 of the Regulations
21. Lastly, the Single Judge referred to the temporary amendments outlined in art. 18 par. 2 lit. ii) of the Procedural Rules, which entered in force in 10 June 2020, according to which no procedural costs shall be levied for any claim lodged between 10 June 2020 and 31 December 2020 (both inclusive), and determined given that the claim at hand was lodged on 3 July 2020, the decision shall be rendered free of costs.
III. DECISION OF THE SINGLE JUDGE OF THE PSC
1. The claim of the Claimant, Spartans FC, is accepted.
2. The Respondent, Extremadura UD, has to pay to the Claimant the following amount:
- EUR 100,000 plus 5% interest p.a. as from 31 July 2020 until the date of effective payment.
3. A warning is imposed on the Respondent.
4. The Claimant is directed to immediately and directly inform the Respondent of the relevant bank account to which the Respondent must pay the due amount.
5. The Respondent shall provide evidence of payment of the due amount in accordance with this decision to email@example.com, duly translated, if applicable, into one of the official FIFA languages (English, French, German, Spanish).
6. In the event that the amount due, plus interest as established above is not paid by the Respondent within 45 days, as from the notification by the Claimant of the relevant bank details to the Respondent, the following consequences shall arise:
The Respondent shall be banned from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, up until the due amount is paid and for the maximum duration of three entire and consecutive registration periods. The aforementioned ban mentioned will be lifted immediately and prior to its complete serving, once the due amount is paid.
(cf. art. 24bis of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players). 2.
In the event that the payable amount as per in this decision is still not paid by the end of the ban of three entire and consecutive registration periods, the present matter shall be submitted, upon request, to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.
7. The present decision is rendered free of costs.
For the Players' Status Committee:
Emilio García Silvero
Chief Legal & Compliance Officer
NOTE RELATED TO THE APPEAL PROCEDURE:
According to article 58 par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes, this decision may be appealed against before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) within 21 days of receipt of the notification of this decision.
NOTE RELATED TO THE PUBLICATION:
FIFA may publish this decision. For reasons of confidentiality, FIFA may decide, at the request of a party within five days of the notification of the motivated decision, to publish an anonymised or a redacted version (cf. article 20 of the Procedural Rules).
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