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FIFPro and the Russian professional footballers association (PSFT) condemn the decision taken by  the Russian dispute resolution chamber (DRC) in the case of three FC Piter players. The Russian DRC allows clubs to force their players to train alone.

‘It is a shame what these arbitrators are doing.’

Egor Kvach, Fyodor Chuprakov and Rustam Shakhmelyan are players of FC Piter Saint Petersburg, a club from Saint Petersburg playing in Russia’s third division. Last month they received a letter from the club’s management which stated, that the three of them had to train separately from their squad in order to improve their physical condition.

The players refused to obey that order. After two weeks each of them decided to terminate his contract. They submitted their claim to terminate their contracts to the Russian DRC. The players were convinced that the measure taken by their club was an obvious form of harassment. In their opinion, the letter was written because FC Piter wanted to get rid of them.

‘The letter is typical of the behavior of Russian professional football clubs’, says Nikolai Grammatikov, secretary general of the Russian professional footballers’ association, who supports these players.

The players and the players union thought they had a strong case, because of the precedent created by Russian footballer Igor Strelkov in the CAS. In February 2012, the appeal body in Lausanne had ordered that Strelkov could not be forced to train separately by his club Krylia Sovetov. It was a basic player’s right to train with the squad, according to the CAS ruling.

Nevertheless, the arbitrators of the Russian DRC decided differently in the case against FC Piter. The Russian DRC stated that the club’s order to train alone was no just cause to terminate the contract.

The players have now decided to take their case to the CAS, the appeal body for the Russian DRC.

'It is a shame what these arbitrators are doing’, said Nikolai Grammatikov, secretary general of the players union. ‘We are forced to bring this kind of claims to CAS, because the local judicial body thinks that the players are slaves who can be forced to do whatever the management of the club orders.’

‘We know what the CAS will decide, because of the Strelkov precedent’, Grammatikov continues. ‘The CAS will decide that the players terminated their contracts with just cause. But it is going to take maybe a year or even longer before the players will receive a decision from the CAS.’

FIFPro considers the order to train alone as unacceptable. The outcome of the Strelkov Case illustrates FIFPro’s point of view. ‘This improper practice should be terminated within the shortest timeframe possible’, says FIFPro lawyer Wil van Megen.

Grammatikov is also annoyed that the Russian DRC contains several players’ representatives, who until now have not proven that they are defending the interest of the players. ‘If they really are representing the professional footballers in Russia, how can they support a decision that is damaging to basic players’ rights?’

 

 

 widthIn a video made by Russian TV channel 100, two players (Rustam Shakhmelyan and Egor Kvach) talk about the treatment of the club. They are forced to run alone and have to dress in shabby dressing rooms with no shower. Their coach Viktor Antikhovich defends the position of the club.

 

Click here to watch the video.