Any club or individual that feels aggrieved by a punishment applied by a League or footballing body is able to apply to take their case to the Court of Arbitration in Sport. Subject to certain criteria, CAS may to able to arbitrate on the case. Recently two Turkish teams have been punished by UEFA for breaches of FFP rules and have taken their case to CAS. The results have interesting implications for the implementation of FFP. They also show how challenges to FFP punishments may be applied.
Bursapor had ‘overdue payables’ (i.e. tax, or salaries, or transfer fees) dating back to 2007. The UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body imposed a E300k fine and also gave the club a suspended punishment of a one-year UEFA competition ban. Buraspor appealed to UEFA, who reduced the fine to E50k but imposed an immediate UEFA competition ban. Buraspor took the case to CAS who judged that the club was free to compete in UEFA competitions but should be fined E250k.
Besiktas owed millions in overdue tax, salaries and transfer fees and in May 2012 were given a E600k fine and a two-year UEFA ban on the grounds that the club had violated the FFP and Club Licensing regulations. They appealed to UEFA who confirmed the two-year ban but changed the fine to E200k, plus another E400k suspended fine. Besiktas took the case to CAS who upheld the two-year ban but imposed a E100k fine, plus another E100k suspended.
These cases are interesting as they confirm that CAS will make judgments and be willing to uphold UEFA punishments in respect of the current FFP rules (including UEFA competition bans). Although these particular cases relate to ‘overdue payables’, the indications are that other aspects of the FFP regulation (such as overspend) may also be upheld by CAS.
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