February 3 – In a fascinating case that will be noted by all stakeholders in football’s transfer landscape, player power has lost out to contractual obligations after Bayer Leverkusen’s Turkish international midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu had a four-month ban upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport meaning he will miss the rest of the season.
The 22-year-old was also ordered to pay Turkish club Trabzonspor €100,0000 in compensation and will miss Leverkusen’s Champions League round of 16 matches against Atletico Madrid.
The background to the story goes back several years.
Trabzonspor lodged a claim with FIFA in April 2013 alleging that Calhanoglu had breached the terms of his contract without just cause when he signed for Karlsruhe in 2011.
FIFA ruled in favour of the Turkish club but its ban was suspended pending an appeal at CAS.
Calhanoglu was a youth player at Karlsruhe at the time. He was paid €100,000 after agreeing to sign for Trabzonspor in the future. But he never joined, instead extending his deal with the German club.
He eventually left Karlsruhe to join Hamburg before moving on to Leverkusen in 2014. Understandably perhaps, Leverkusen are fuming at the latest ruling.
“We regret this decision which we cannot comprehend,” said Leverkusen sports director Rudi Voeller citing the fact that Leverkusen were not guilty of any wrongdoing since the case involved other previous clubs.
But CAS ruled that the FIFA ban, which was effectively frozen pending the appeal verdict, “is reinstated with immediate effect.”
Calhanoglu has scored seven goals for Leverkusen this season and will also miss Turkey’s World Cup qualifying match at home against Finland on March 24.
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