Sports law &
labour law

DRC FIFA 19-01972 & CAS 2020/A/7242

On 23 April 2020, the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) upheld the claims of the Moroccan player Mourad Batna against the club Al Wahda FC (UAE), a decision partially confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (based in Lausanne – Switzerland) on 23 November 2021.

The decision rendered by the FIFA DRC followed the club’s failures against the player, and in particular his exclusion from the team – illustrated inter alia by the fact that the club had forbidden the player to go with the rest of the team to a training camp abroad – and the non-payment of several salaries.
These serious and repeated breaches had forced the player, after several default notices, which remained unsuccessful, to unilaterally terminate the contract.

The FIFA DRC decided that the player terminated the contract for just cause and ordered the club, inter alia, to pay the unpaid salaries as well as compensation for breach of contract and additional compensation for egregious circumstances.

In this case, the Dispute Resolution Chamber had in fact, for one of the first time, granted additional compensation for ” egregious circumstances “, a compensation recently introduced in the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players.

At the same time, and subsequent to the claim lodged by the player to FIFA, Al Wahda FC initiated two proceedings against the player before the United Arab Emirates Football Federation: the first aimed at preventing the player from registering with a new club, and the second aimed at thwarting the proceedings pending before FIFA.

In both of these proceedings, initiated at national level by the club, the Player was successful and was able to register with his new club.

As a result of the favourable decision obtained by the player before FIFA, Al Wahda FC filed an appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport partially upheld the decision, confirming on the one hand that Al Wahda FC was ordered to pay the unpaid wages due to the player, and on the other hand that the contract was terminated by the player for just cause. CAS, however, reduced part of the compensation due to the player in accordance with the FIFA DRC Decision. In particular, the Panel noted the player’s “regrettable” absence from the hearing, although he was represented at the hearing by his lawyer and had previously justified his inability to attend. The Panel’s reasoning is questionable since the presence of the parties at the hearing is not required by any legal or regulatory provision.

BRUIN Avocat is pleased to have assisted the Player in this matter.

Le cabinet est situé à Aix-en-Provence (France).

Le cabinet intervient dans toute la France mais également à l’étranger, auprès d’une clientèle française et internationale.

Maître BRUIN travaille en français, en anglais et en espagnol.