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Transfer ban are we being singled out


doug

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Old news but wondered why fifa took no action against Arsenal.

Arsenal prepared to pay court demands for Fran Merida’s potential

Barcelona remain aggrieved that they did not receive a significant transfer fee from Arsenal for Cesc Fàbregas, but the Catalan club will be compensated for a player who followed in the midfield player’s footsteps.

Fran Merida models himself on Fàbregas, but his journey to the Emirates Stadium will cost him up to £2.2 million after a Spanish civil court ruled that he had broken an agreement he had signed with Barcelona. Arsenal will foot the bill on behalf of the 17-year-old central midfield playmaker, which could be a small price to pay. The decision sets a powerful precedent for future claims and Barcelona are believed to be ready to pursue a similar course of action against Daniel Pacheco, a forward signed by Liverpool during the summer.

Merida was even given Fàbregas’s old room after arriving from Barcelona’s youth academy in the summer of last year. Of similar stature to his countryman, Merida was spotted playing for the Spain youth team.

He has impressed since marking his first appearance for Arsenal with a swerving strike, helping them to reach the FA Youth Cup semi-finals last term and creating the only goal for Spain against England to lift the Uefa Under-17 Championship in May.

Merida came on for his debut in the 2-0 victory against Newcastle United in the Carling Cup third-round tie last month. It is a similar path to that taken by Fàbregas, who dazzled with his calmness and maturity when he played in a Carling Cup tie at 16 years and 177 days four years ago. Arsenal had to pay £700,000 in compensation for Fàbregas after Barcelona asked Fifa to arbitrate.

Barcelona took Merida to court, claiming that he had signed a precontract agreement at 14 to sign professional terms two years later. They claimed that Merida had requested his registration a year later and disappeared for several months.

He then joined Arsenal when he was 16 without a fee being paid. Arsenal were not part of the court case and have said that they acted correctly. Barcelona protested to Uefa and sued the player for his “formation costs and future valueâ€.

Merida is expected to figure in the Carling Cup this season, while his predecessor continues to shine in the Barclays Premier League. Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, said that he hopes that Fàbregas can maintain the same desire he has shown this season in leading the team to the top of the table. “I hope that he does not carry too much responsibility and continues to want to improve and be the best,†Wenger said. “The rest will come, as he has immense talent. If he keeps the same desire to progress, it will come by itself.

“We lost a great player [Thierry Henry, who left for Barcelona in the summer], so on an individual level we miss something, but we will try and compensate using our initiative and sharing responsibility at the heart of the side. That was sometimes too concentrated on one player from an attacking point of view. I hope that the loss will be compensated by the dividing up of these tasks.â€

Tomas Rosicky has had a special insole put into his boots to help him to avoid a repetition of niggling injuries. The Arsenal midfield player hopes to return for the Czech Republic against Germany on Wednesday after missing five matches with a hamstring problem.

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There are clear grounds for arguing we have been singled out. The whole case against us - which FIFA have never given us a chance to defend, prior to the CAS hearing - rests on the nature of Kakuta's 'contract' with Lens, which is highly dubious to say the least. At best it was an agreement to sign a contract when he became old enough, but there is plenty of doubt about whether he was even eligible to sign such an agreement. The fact is, French law does not allow 15 year olds to sign a contract, but French football regualtions designed to prevent poaching do allow clubs to 'tie down' their young players. The regulations spell out severe penalties if players leave one club for another French club- a 3 year ban -but these do not apply to players joining overseas clubs.

The media quoted various precedents leading to similar transfer bans as ours, but these were for breaches of 'proper' pro contracts, not breaches of 'pre-contract agreements' of the sort Kakuta's mum supposedly signed. There is no suggestion that Kakuta himself ever signed anything, and the French FA gave clearance for his move to Chelsea when he turned 16, so I think there are plenty of grounds for believing that a) FIFA have decided to make an example of us in a manner that is unprecedented and b ) FIFA have sided with Lens without taking into account the full facts of the case. We will be able to quote cases like Merida's to show that we are been singled out unfairly.

Based on what I've read, I'm fairly confident the CAS will clear us of the charges.

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I'm fairly confident the CAS will clear us of the charges.

Until they come after us again. And they will.

They pulled this trick out of nowhere, nobody seen it coming.

And now they will be even more pissed off, seeing as Roman just waved our debts.

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The Merida case is just one of the dozens out there in which these other "whiter than white" clubs of a similar stature to us

-got a youngster for a pittance

-pissed off that youngsters club

-were reported over their action.

And yet a similar punishment has never been leveled at any of them. The great charge from the press and neutrals against us is "The reason you were charged is because you were actually guilty". Without knowing any of the details of the ther cases, I remain pretty damn confident at least someone out there was guilty.

The only difference here is that both Barca and Arsenal are part of that former cabal known as the G14.

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Strangely, goal.com (so who knows if its true) says Merida signed for Atletico Madrid today, and will go there when he is out of contract in the summer.

So, I guess thats it for "The Next Cesc Fabregas" (yes, I did hear that term used in 2004). His wikipedia page has an interesting quote from Mr. Whinger:

"I can't say I'm annoyed by other clubs going after our players because we do it as well. But we do it legally." "The difference is that we do not do what is not allowed by the law. We try to get the best players everywhere when it is allowed by the rules."

Yeah, tell that to Marseilles.

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The Merida case is just one of the dozens out there in which these other "whiter than white" clubs of a similar stature to us

-got a youngster for a pittance

-pissed off that youngsters club

-were reported over their action.

And yet a similar punishment has never been leveled at any of them. The great charge from the press and neutrals against us is "The reason you were charged is because you were actually guilty". Without knowing any of the details of the ther cases, I remain pretty damn confident at least someone out there was guilty.

The only difference here is that both Barca and Arsenal are part of that former cabal known as the G14.

The difference is, Merida's transfer has more in common with how we signed Michael Woods or Taye Taiwo from Leeds, than Kakuta's transfer.

In Kakuta's case, Lens are alleging we forced Kakuta to break his pre-contract agreement. Different kettle of fish.

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In Kakuta's case, Lens are alleging we forced Kakuta to break his pre-contract agreement. Different kettle of fish.

a contract pre-contract agreement that went against FIFA rules and french employment law.

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Against what laws and rules?

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/footbal...le-1781978.html

What queers the pitch in France is that a player can sign a 'contract aspirant' before the age of 16; in effect, an agreement to agree to a professional contract later. "An agreement to agree is unenforceable in law in the UK," says Adam Morallee, a partner at the law firm Mishcon de Reya. "It is enforceable in France, however, and we can assume that has been accepted by Fifa because of the ruling."

So Kakuta, in France, is governed by this law and a breach of it is illegal. Lens accuse Chelsea of persuading/forcing Kakuta to break the contract. I agree with the article- the only reason why we are getting charged is because we refused to pay anything.

Chelsea's arguments are that a) his parents signed the contract- not Kakuta ::ChELSeAFaN:: UEFA and the FFF cleared the transfer. c) FIFA allowing such a contract to be enforced in international transfers is a breach of EU freedom of movement/employment laws. The latter is the strongest argument and probably the reason why we have appealed directly to the CAS.

So why do Arsenal get away with it? Because Wenger knows French football and stays away from French youngsters who haven't signed professional contracts. In Flamini's case, he only gave a verbal agreement to pen a professional contract.

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Against what laws and rules?

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/footbal...le-1781978.html

So Kakuta, in France, is governed by this law and a breach of it is illegal. Lens accuse Chelsea of persuading/forcing Kakuta to break the contract. I agree with the article- the only reason why we are getting charged is because we refused to pay anything.

Chelsea's arguments are that a) his parents signed the contract- not Kakuta ::ChELSeAFaN:: UEFA and the FFF cleared the transfer. c) FIFA allowing such a contract to be enforced in international transfers is a breach of EU freedom of movement/employment laws. The latter is the strongest argument and probably the reason why we have appealed directly to the CAS.

So why do Arsenal get away with it? Because Wenger knows French football and stays away from French youngsters who haven't signed professional contracts. In Flamini's case, he only gave a verbal agreement to pen a professional contract.

A further point is that Kakuta did not meet the criteria to sign a 'contrat aspirant'. So even if his mum signed one it wouldn't be valid.

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Against what laws and rules?

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/footbal...le-1781978.html

So Kakuta, in France, is governed by this law and a breach of it is illegal. Lens accuse Chelsea of persuading/forcing Kakuta to break the contract. I agree with the article- the only reason why we are getting charged is because we refused to pay anything.

Chelsea's arguments are that a) his parents signed the contract- not Kakuta ::ChELSeAFaN:: UEFA and the FFF cleared the transfer. c) FIFA allowing such a contract to be enforced in international transfers is a breach of EU freedom of movement/employment laws. The latter is the strongest argument and probably the reason why we have appealed directly to the CAS.

So why do Arsenal get away with it? Because Wenger knows French football and stays away from French youngsters who haven't signed professional contracts. In Flamini's case, he only gave a verbal agreement to pen a professional contract.

im not gonna go into this again here, but suffice to say theres plenty of evidence in the kakuta thread that the pre-contract was illegal (partly reagarding what backbiter said) and also that FIFA themselves are about to ban the kind of contract kakuta was alleged to have signed.

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the only reason why we are getting charged is because we refused to pay anything.

That's not true. We offered them money, but they turned it down, claiming 4 million odd euros or pounds - for a 15 year old. We told them to get lost. Ironically, in their judgement on the case FIFA set the figure owed to Lens for their 'development costs' as a figure much closer to our original offer.

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The difference is, Merida's transfer has more in common with how we signed Michael Woods or Taye Taiwo from Leeds, than Kakuta's transfer.

In Kakuta's case, Lens are alleging we forced Kakuta to break his pre-contract agreement. Different kettle of fish.

From the sounds of it, this contract aspirant may be different and carry more legal weight in France, but if Barcelona say Merida signed a pre-contract at 14 for two years later, and then when the time came he broke that promise and suddenly signed for another big club elsewhere in the continent, I fail to see how this differs from Lens' allegation. If the pre-contract was signed to agree professional terms at 16, isnt that exactly whats going on with Kakuta, minus the fact that we assumed everything was above board with the transfer 3 years ago?

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That's not true. We offered them money, but they turned it down, claiming 4 million odd euros or pounds - for a 15 year old. We told them to get lost. Ironically, in their judgement on the case FIFA set the figure owed to Lens for their 'development costs' as a figure much closer to our original offer.

Splitting hairs mate. The point is- we didn't want to play their game and thought we could bully them/get away with it- and it backfired. I'm not saying it's right, but it seems to be the case.

From the sounds of it, this contract aspirant may be different and carry more legal weight in France, but if Barcelona say Merida signed a pre-contract at 14 for two years later, and then when the time came he broke that promise and suddenly signed for another big club elsewhere in the continent, I fail to see how this differs from Lens' allegation. If the pre-contract was signed to agree professional terms at 16, isnt that exactly whats going on with Kakuta, minus the fact that we assumed everything was above board with the transfer 3 years ago?

Because said contracts are legally binding in France, but in other countries, you can't have a contract to make you sign a contract, or an 'agreement to agree'. FIFA upheld their sanctions because they believe it is covered under French jurisdiction (or Michel Platini had a word ;) )

This will probably be one of our cornerstone arguments, that such a contract is invalid outside of France as it is against the freedom of movement employment laws in the EU.

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Because said contracts are legally binding in France, but in other countries, you can't have a contract to make you sign a contract, or an 'agreement to agree'. FIFA upheld their sanctions because they believe it is covered under French jurisdiction (or Michel Platini had a word ;) )

This will probably be one of our cornerstone arguments, that such a contract is invalid outside of France as it is against the freedom of movement employment laws in the EU.

legally-binding? They're illegal in France. And as you say they breach the EU principle of freedom of movement.

I think your reference to Platini might be the be all and end all of the matter.

The French rules/ regulations surrounding 'contrats aspirants' (they are NOT laws!) are enforced by the FFF and noone else. The penalties for breaking them are a ban for signing for another French club for 3 years. They do not prevent you signing for a club in another country.

For FIFA to side with Lens suggests a totally one-sided view of the issue. They have already decided to ban pre-contract agreements for minors, so the French will have to scrap those regulations anyway.

And as I've said many times, Kakuta did not meet the criteria to sign a contrat aspirant anyway! He was too young and at a stage in his schooling (not his final year - he had to repeat a year due to poor results) that made it impossible to sign one. Lens claim he had a valid contract but the FFF have admitted it was never lodged with them, which is why they cleared his move to England.

Lens clearly felt we were big shots arrogantly throwing our weight around, reported us to FIFA, gave their side of the story and FIFA accepted it without either letting us defend ourselves or checking the full facts.

There is a very good chance FIFA will be found by the CAS to have acted hastily and punished us both disproportionately and without precedent.

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I'm obviously no expert in French law, but no source i've found says that they are NOT legally binding in France. In fact, as I said earlier, one of Chelsea's key arguments will be to show that such a law is against EU employment principles and therefore such contracts are invalid for international transfers.

This article puts it nicely:

http://www.ffw.com/publications/all/articl...kakuta_who.aspx

I agree with your second bit though. However, such is the FIFA rule:

“It shall be presumed, unless established to the contrary, that any club signing a professional who has terminated his contract without just cause has induced that professional to commit a breach. The club shall be banned from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, for two registration periods.â€

The burden of proof is upon the alleged party to prove their innocence i.e. that we didn't induce Kakuta to breach his contract (or "contract" ;)). I suppose we could argue the pros and cons or the fairness of such a law all day, but that's irrelevant, it's a FIFA rule governing transfers and we have to play by it.

My only point is I don't see the need for people to cry conspiracy; this is a largely unique set of circumstances even though there are similar cases around the world. We are dealing with specific regulations which are enforceable regardless of what we percieve to be 'fair' or 'moral'.

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such is the FIFA rule:

“It shall be presumed, unless established to the contrary, that any club signing a professional who has terminated his contract without just cause has induced that professional to commit a breach. The club shall be banned from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, for two registration periods.â€Â

That FIFA rule is black and white. The problem is that it refers to people who have terminated their contract without just cause.

Kakuta did NOT have a contract, so he wasn't guilty of breaking it and we were not guilty of inducing him to break it. All he had was an agreement to sign a contract that he hadn't signed.

If anyone has broken a contract it's his mum. FIFA should ban her.

FIFA have gone after us because they are concerned about 'trafficking' of youngsters. Fair enough. So why are they outlawing these French 'pre-contract agreements'?

EDIT: Here's alink to employment law in France (in English!).

http://www.infomobil.org/en/content/work-legislation-1

Work legislation

*

Minimum age

In France, you can start working at 16.

Kakuta could not have been legally employed by Lens. End of story.

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And what's Sepp Blatter's view on players' rights to move freely?

However Blatter believes if the player wants to leave, United should not try and stand in his way.

'If the player wants to play somewhere else, then a solution should be found because if he stays in a club where he does not feel comfortable to play then it's not good for the player and for the club,' said the Fifa boss.

'I'm always in favour of protecting the player and if the player, he wants to leave, let him leave.'

Blatter believes the issue raises interesting questions about the way transfers and contracts are dealt with in the game.

'I think in football there's too much modern slavery in transferring players or buying players here and there, and putting them somewhere,' he continued.

'We are trying now to intervene in such cases. The reaction to the Bosman law is to make long-lasting contacts in order to keep the players and then if he wants to leave, then there is only one solution, he has to pay his contract.'

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Some stuff off the FIFA website about the status of these 'pre-contract agreements', taken from a case heard by the DRC:

http://www.fifa.com/...4667_26_869.pdf

The members present at the meeting then analysed the legal nature of the training agreement concluded between the player and the club X. In this respect, they acknowledged that the French club had admitted that the training agreement is independent from any employment contract possibly signed between the player and the club, and that therefore it does not have the status and the binding effect of an employment contract. Furthermore, the DRC noted that such point of view is clearly confirmed by the French national legislation.......

the DRC concluded that, undoubtedly, the training agreement does not constitute an employment contract but rather an instrument meant to safeguard and protect the rights of a player in formation.

For the sake of good order, the DRC stated that a more restrictive line, e.g. an absolute obligation for the player to remain with the club that offered him the formation, would, in all probability, anyway be in conflict with general labour law principles.......already the current system provided for by the Charter appears to be questionable with regard to its legality.....

the player cannot be prevented from moving to a club affiliated to an association other than the French Football Federation, since the direct consequences of art. 261 point 2 of the Charter only apply within the territory of the said federation. Finally, no sports sanctions may be applied neither on the player nor on the club Y.

It still beggars belief that they've imposed such severe sanctions on Chelsea given their existing stance on these 'precontracts'.

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Here's the evidence that Kakuta was ineligible for a 'contrat aspirant':

http://www.lfp.fr/ac...o/chartePro.pdf

Quote

1. Tout joueur, libéré de ses obligations scolaires, âgé de 16 ans ou

17 ans dans l’année, peut signer un contrat de joueur aspirant.

2. Toutefois un joueur, âgé de 15 ans révolus le jour de la signature

du contrat et qui n’atteindra pas 16 ans au 31 décembre de l’année

au cours de laquelle le contrat est souscrit, peut signer un contrat de

joueur aspirant, sous réserve qu’il justifie avoir effectué la scolarité

du premier cycle de l’enseignement secondaire.

So you have to be 16 to sign one.

You can sign at 15 IF YOU WON'T TURN 16 by the end of the year the contract is signed, but there are conditions that depend on completing a phase of your schooling. The first point makes clear that the 'contrat aspirant' is for players 'free of educational obligations' - wich Kakuta was not in April 2007.

And yet the reports are that he signed at 14!!!

Here's more from Guy Hillion, the France-based Chelsea scout :

http://www.irishexaminer.com/sport/soccer/...row-101500.html

When we started talking with her (Kakuta's mum), we asked if she had signed something with Lens. She promised she had signed nothing, nothing at all. It was only six months later, when cleaning her house, that she found a piece of paper that she had signed and she didn’t even know what it was."

The contract she found was actually a pre-contract agreement, registered with the French FA and the French league, signed because you cannot pay a player in France before he turns 16.

For that contract to come into effect, the player would have to turn 16 and also enter lycee, the French form of secondary school.

But because Kakuta was late starting his scholarship programme at Lens, he was not yet at lycee when he turned 16, which is why the contract had not taken effect.

And more crucial evidence in our favour:

http://www.mercato36...-pillage-.shtml

Quote

Gaël a eu 16 ans en juin 2007 et il a rejoint Chelsea en juillet de la même année. Son âge permet n'importe quel transfert européen.

Gaël sort d'un centre géré par la FFF, Liévin Nord. Sa maman a signé un accord avec Lens il y a trois ans. Un contrat anticipé qui devait prendre effet à sa sortie du centre, soit à ses 15 ans. Mais suite à une erreur administrative de Lens, ce contrat ne pouvait pas être homologué, le joueur n'ayant pas terminé son premier cycle scolaire, condition obligatoire en France. Il redoublait sa troisième et a donc signé une licence amateur d'un an, enregistrée à la Ligue du Nord, pour la saison 2007-08. Ce qui a permis à la mère de Gaël, après une démission officielle, de signer dans le club de son choix.

Gaël turned 16 in June 2007 and joined Chelsea in July that year. His age permitted any European transfer.

Gael comes from a centre run by the FFF, Lievin North. His mother signed an agreement with Lens 3 years ago, a future contract which was to be signed when he left the centre, once he'd turned 15. But due to an administrative error by Lens this contract could not be ratified as the player hadn't completed his first phase of secondary education, which is a compulsory requirement in France. He was repeating his third year (=Year 10 in UK) and therefore signed a one-year amateur licence, registered with the Northern League, for the 2007-8 season. Which allowed his mother, after giving official notice, to sign with a club of her choice.

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And here's a CAS judgement that's relevant to us:

http://www.iusport.co.uk/php/images/PDF/co...%20football.pdf

p.35-6 of the pdf, but p25 is the number at the top. Sadly, it won't allow cut & paste, so here's a brief quote:

The CAS found that ....the arguments of Barcelona regarding the inducement of breach of contract by Man Utd [this was the signing of Pique]

had no relevance mainly because the FIFA regulations refer to professional contracts only. The provisions made theren are not applicable to amateur relations

click on to p.26 and you find this, on the Sissoko case:.

Sissoko had signed a so-called apprenticeship contract with Auxerre ....on the expiration of such a contract players are obliged to sign a pre-professional contract....When Auxerre offered Sissoko the contract, the player declined and signed for Valencia...The final decision by CAS is that the apprenticeship contract system is only valid at national level and that the FIFA regulations are to be applied to international transfers. Consequently, Sissoko did not breach his contract but had to be considered a free agent for international transfers

So, again, FIFA know all this, but have punished us anyway.

So, yes, our treatment is without precedent - we are being traeted differently to Manure and Valencia, as we were in FIFA's handling of the Pogba case - and the case should be thrown out.

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Backbiter,

I must say, you've done a brilliant research, mate. CFC legal team should hire you as an adviser.

I'm also not a little bit surprised at the incompetence and sheer bias from FIFA. The more I learn about the case the more I realize that this decision was politically motivated and had nothing to do with their self professed desire to protect the rights of the "small" clubs.

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And here's a CAS judgement that's relevant to us:

http://www.iusport.co.uk/php/images/PDF/co...%20football.pdf

click on to p.26 and you find this, on the Sissoko case:.

So, again, FIFA know all this, but have punished us anyway.

So, yes, our treatment is without precedent - we are being traeted differently to Manure and Valencia, as we were in FIFA's handling of the Pogba case - and the case should be thrown out.

::clap2:: :D

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My days off because of the snow were not a total waste. I am supposed to be, ahem, working from home after all.

bloody hell mate, remind me to get you on my legal team if i ever find myself in trouble. nicely done, and as you say it shows how ridiculous the way FIFA still managed to find us guilty when all the evidence points towards Lens being the only club to have broken any rules. so if we are found innocent then will Lens be found guilty of breaking any laws/rules and be sanctioned? some how i doubt it.

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Some stuff off the FIFA website about the status of these 'pre-contract agreements', taken from a case heard by the DRC:

It still beggars belief that they've imposed such severe sanctions on Chelsea given their existing stance on these 'precontracts'.

Backbiter as I was reading through your posts to formulate a response, I came a across this:

I was just thinking about the wording of that FIFA statute; no doubt we can assume that it refers to a professional contract.

Even if Kakuta did sign a valid contract aspirant, that isn't an employment agreement; it's essentially an agreement to agree (which is precisely why it is unenforceable in the UK, Spain, Italy etc) and according to that DRC judgement, so perhaps this statute doesn't apply at all.

So the question begging is "why" and the reason for that is simply because the statute presumes guilt. FIFA accept the charge and lay the onus on Chelsea to prove their innocence.

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