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FIFPRO denounces inconsistent CAS jurisprudence on sporting succession

DRC & NDRC Statement

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FIFPRO 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.

Over 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 loophole in the regulations.

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.

The last two years, for example, seven awards were rendered by CAS for players of the Bulgarian club CSKA-Sofia: four of the players will be compensated by the new CSKA-Sofia, whereas the other three will not.

Roy Vermeer, Director Legal of FIFPRO, 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.”