Shakhtar Donetsk appeal to EC over change to player contract rule that has cost them €40m

March 31 – Shakhtar Donetsk have filed a complaint against FIFA to the European Commission, claiming the global governing body’s ruling allowing foreign players to suspend their contracts has cost them €40 million.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, FIFA permitted foreign players based in the country to suspend their contracts until June 2023, allowing them to seal short-term moves elsewhere. Shakhtar and their CEO Serhiy Palkin protested the rule, but the Court of Arbitration (CAS) dismissed Donetsk’s claims. However, the club is continuing its fight, now moving its complaint to the European level and the EU’s antitrust watchdog.

A statement from the club’s chief executive Serhiy Palkin said: “Action has been taken to file this complaint to the European Commission, given the importance of Shakhtar undertaking transfer market trading with players within the European Union.

“Therefore, it is entirely legitimate and fair to bring this complaint before the EU Commission since FIFA’s actions violate EU competition law.

“The over-reaching measures applied by FIFA led to the massive loss of player transfer income and a depletion of essential club revenues amounting to approximately €40million.

“We expect the European Commission to understand and appreciate the extreme financial pressures being placed on our club due to FIFA’s actions – at a time when our nation is being ravaged by an illegal war.”

At CAS, Donetsk argued that there were no legal grounds to suspend employment contracts under Ukrainian and Swiss law, that FIFA’s ruling violated EU competition law and in particular Article 101 TFEU, that the world federation violated their own good governance practices and standards, and that the ruling was discriminatory.

Palkin has repeatedly stated that FIFA is ‘killing’ Ukrainian football with the rule.

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