Shakhtar Donetsk and Russian clubs lose appeal to CAS over loss of transfer business

January 16 – In a blow to Ukraine’s top club Shakhtar Donetsk, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld FIFA’s decision to allow foreign players and coaches to leave Russian and Ukrainian clubs due to the ongoing war.

Shakhtar and eight Russian clubs had appealed against emergency rules that let foreign players and coaches suspend their contracts during the Russian invasion.

In a separate ruling by CAS, Shakhtar had its appeal dismissed in a case heard in December which sought €50 million compensation from FIFA for loss in player transfer sales.

Both appeals challenged a FIFA decision last summer that extended rules first applied last March. The governing body said at the time that the move was chiefly to provide players and coaches with the opportunity to work and receive a salary, and to protect Ukrainian clubs brought to a halt by invasion.

Shakhtar and the Russian clubs argued that giving players the right to move on loan to another country cost them millions in lost transfer fees. That may be so in some cases but Shakhtar have just sold much-touted winger Mykhailo Mudryk to Chelsea for a staggering fee that could rise to €100 million.

The CAS panel determined that in all cases the escalation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the worldwide response “created unforeseen and unprecedented circumstances to which FIFA and UEFA had to respond.”

Russia’s national federation said it “strongly disagrees with the CAS decision and reserves the right to continue protecting its own interests.”

Next steps could include a demand for compensation or a new appeal to the Swiss supreme court.

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