FC Shakhtar accuse FIFA of €40m loss with ‘overreaching’ suspension of international contracts

December 21 – Ukrainian club FC Shakhtar has said the suspension of international player contracts when Russia began its invasion of Ukraine has cost the club about €40 million, and was an “inappropriate and over-reaching measure” applied by FIFA.

FC Shakhtar have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and their hearing is tomorrow (December 22).

The club argues that FIFA’s decision in 2022 to suspend international player and coaching contracts saw many of their international players leave the club on free transfers.

“The inappropriate and over-reaching measures applied by FIFA has ultimately led to massive loss of player transfer income and a depletion of essential Club revenues amounting to approximately 40 million Euros (€) – funds which are greatly needed, especially at a time when Ukrainian football and the wider sports family are struggling to recover from the terrible impact of war,” said club chief executive officer, Sergei Palkin.

FC Shakhtar said it will set out four “clear and compelling arguments” at the hearing:

  • that the rulings by FIFA made to void the international contract are illegal – there are no legal grounds to suspend employment contracts under Ukrainian and Swiss law.
  • that FIFA’s actions violate EU Competition law (specifically Article 101 TFEU), which allows Ukrainian football clubs to access the European market for the transfer of players.
  • that FIFA did not act in accordance with its own good governance practices and standards, and implemented contract procedures without any assessment of the practical in-country situation and without any consultation with the main affected parties
  • that Circulars 1800 and 1804 (issued by FIFA) are discriminatory, violate the principle of contractual stability, curtail clubs’ economic freedom, affect the integrity of football competitions, and are disproportionate.

FC Shakhtar argue that there were “fair and less harmful measures” that FIFA could have adopted. These include setting up a reparation fund for Ukrainian clubs hit by loss of revenues during the conflict, and FIFA mediating to ensure Ukrainian clubs that had payment obligations to other clubs were deferred until after the crisis eased.

“We believe in equality, responsibility and solidarity in world football. We expect FIFA to operate with greatest standards of ethics, integrity and governance – and it is right that the organisation supports the whole football community so everyone including the clubs, players and fans can help the game flourish,” said Palkin.

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