ISL side FC Pune City was found guilty of breaching the contract protocol while attempting to sign Spanish midfielder Nestor Gordillo from I-League champions Chennai City FC and misleading the committee. The player has, however, also got a ban of four months for being an accomplice.
The star midfielder had a one-year contract left with Chennai City when he agreed to sign a "pre-contract" with Indian Super League side for the 2019-20 season. And after it was proved in the court, the player’s status committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has imposed a two-window transfer ban on the club apart from a fine of Rs 5 lakh.
As per the proceedings, FC Pune City has been convicted for “inducing a breach of contract” to sign the player and not paying the necessary transfer fee. The club was also found misguiding the committee by providing wrong information in their defence.
"The Committee finds that, by signing the contract with FCPC, the Player has breached his contract with CCFC. Moreover, since such breach is induced because of signing of a contract with the Player by FCPC, it is considered to be an inducement to breach of such contract by FCPC," said Babu Mather, the committee head, reported Sportstar.
After a dismal season in the league last year, Pune have struggled to get the right players. However, they could still sign players in the ongoing transfer window with the ban starting from the January winter window.
"FC Pune City is held liable for inducing such breach of the contract and hence, under Article 21 read with Article 27 of the AIFF RSTP, FCPC is banned from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, for two registration periods which shall have effect from the upcoming registration period i.e. the second registration period of the 2019-20 Season which is from 1st January to 31st January 2020 and the first registration period of the 2020-21 Season whenever the dates of the registration period is announced by AIFF along with a fine of Rs. 5,00,000/- (Rupees Five Lakhs) to be paid to AIFF within 15 (fifteen) days from the date of communication of this decision," the committee further said.
Apart from the Pune, Gordillo has also been handed a four-month ban for signing the “pre-contract”. He has also been asked to pay a compensation of three-months salary to the club and a fine of Rs 50,000 to the AIFF.
"In light of the facts, circumstances and the Committee’s findings in the present case, and considering the position of law examined in this regard, this Committee finds that, Mr. Nestor Jesus Gordillo Benitez, the Player has breached the contract signed between Chennai City Football Club and the Player and hence, is under Article 21(1) of the AIFF RSTP, the Player is directed to serve a four-month ban from playing in any official matches organised by or under the aegis of AIFF from the date of communication of this decision. Moreover, the Player is directed to pay a one-time compensation amounting to 3 (three) months of the Player’s salary to CCFC along with a fine of Rs. 50,000/- (Rupees Fifty Thousand) to AIFF, both being payable within 15 (fifteen) days from the date of communication of this decision," the statement read about Gordillo’s punishment.
Chennai City FC owner Rohit Ramesh was delighted after winning the decision for the time and explained how transfers have always been the I-League clubs’ biggest source of income.
"Today's verdict shows our stand is vindicated and justice has prevailed. FC Pune City consistently lied about their acts and they have been thoroughly exposed today. I hope this verdict is a lesson for the big teams to stop going behind the smaller clubs and do such deals. As a small I-League club, we take a lot of effort to identify and sign potential talents. One of our revenue streams is the transfers business and such acts affect the valuation of players,” he said.
FC Pune City CEO Gaurav Modwel has stated that the franchise would be appealing to the AIFF's Appeal Committee for the same and decided the future course of action.