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The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has ruled Libyan football club Al Ahli failed to honour a contract termination agreement with a former international player.

Edward Sadomba, a striker from Zimbabwe, was supported by the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe and FIFPro in the successful appeal at CAS.

The verdict overturns a decision by FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC). 

In January 2016, Al Ahli and Sadomba signed a contract termination agreement under which the club agreed to pay him $450,000. The club then asked Sadomba to sign a document entitled “cash payment order,” which he took to be a formality to trigger a bank transfer. When he was not paid anything, the player filed a complaint to FIFA. Al Ahli said that the signed document showed that the player acknowledged receipt of the money in cash. 

The FIFA DRC had rejected the player's claim.  

On appeal, the CAS dismissed the club’s argumentation, noting the club provided no further evidence of a payment and that no club officials made themselves available to testify. The player travelled from Zimbabwe to Switzerland to answer the questions of the panel. sadomba cas 450

In conclusion, the panel found that the document the player signed was “too ambiguous to be considered as a conclusive evidence of the fact that the player actually received the amount due by the club under the termination agreement.”

Sadomba was represented by Desmond Maringwa, president of the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) and its lawyer Kudawashe Chisekereni. 

It’s the first time the Zimbabwean union has taken a case to the CAS. The costs of filing an appeal can be prohibitive for players and national unions in Africa.

“I would like to applaud Edward for having confidence in us to deal with his case,” Maringwa said. “We always tell even national team players that they should join FUZ. When you do that, you will get help wherever you are playing.”

Picture: Desmond Maringwa, president of the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe, (left) and Edward Sadomba shake hands outside the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.