The Russian invasion of Ukraine also has an impact on the football world. A number of clubs from the Netherlands have done business with clubs from those countries in recent years, so it is still questionable whether they will receive their money (on time), if not everything has been received yet. It may cause predicaments for some clubs.
The EU has paralyzed Russia’s payment systems by cutting off several Russian banks from SWIFT. This international payment system does not transfer money, but regulates international financial traffic. Millions of transactions are made every day. Now that that has stopped, there is suddenly much less possible.
The freezing of the Russian economy could have far-reaching consequences for clubs that still have to receive money from Russia or Ukraine. The transfer fee is in most cases paid in installments and so some clubs still have some receipts. FootballFirst dives into the transfers of the past three seasons.
Ajax in particular will closely monitor the situation in Ukraine and Russia. The Amsterdam club sold David Neres, Lassina Traoré and Quincy Promes for millions to Shakhtar Donetsk (Neres and Traoré) and Spartak Moscow (Promes). Ajax refers to the recently published semi-annual report, which states that it will receive an amount of 19.4 million euros from the top clubs from Ukraine and Russia.
Ajax has bank guarantees from Ukraine for fifteen million euros. A bank guarantee is a guarantee from the bank that the amount will end up in the seller’s bank account. For example, if the buyer goes bankrupt, the seller can fall back on the bank guarantee to collect the amount after all. A bank normally only cooperates with a bank guarantee if it is sure that it can recover itself. Shakhtar normally pays nicely, but everything is different because of the war, also because many banks have been given the junk status.
A third, unknown, party from Russia stands as guarantor for Promes. Ajax will receive an amount of 4.3 million euros for the much-discussed attacker. Status: A lot is still unclear at the moment.
AZ sold Guus Til to Spartak Moscow for eighteen million euros. Status: fully paid off.
The Russian FK Krasnodar took over Tonny Vilhena from Feyenoord for nine million euros. It is unclear whether the Rotterdam club still has to receive an amount from Russia.
Status: the consulted sources do not share information about this. What is certain is that the owner of Krasnodar, the Russian billionaire Sergey Galitsky, has payment problems because his bank accounts are frozen.
Jorrit Hendrix made the switch from PSV to Spartak Moscow for about 500 thousand euros. Status: fully paid off. PSV would still receive a bonus with a Spartak championship, but the club is in tenth place in Russia and so PSV misses out on that windfall.
Vitesse won an amount of eight million euros in the negotiations with Zenit Saint Petersburg about Vyacheslav Karavaev in 2019. Status: fully paid off.
For six million euros, Gyrano Kerk transferred from FC Utrecht to the Russian Lokomotiv Moscow, which still has one or more installments to transfer to the Netherlands. Status: the club has kept up to date with the payment obligation.
The transfer fee for Chidera Ejuke has been largely paid off, but not completely. Status: Heerenveen hopes to receive the last part of the 11.5 million euros from CSKA Moscow this year.
Willem II sold Fran Sol to Dinamo Kiev for 3.5 million euros. Status: fully paid off.
In the summer of 2020, Younes Namli made the switch from PEC Zwolle to FK Krasnodar for allegedly two million euros. Status: fully paid off.
Due to the relegation of FC Emmen, Glenn Bijl could be collected for only 200,000 euros. That clause was stipulated by the Bijl camp at the time and activated by the Russian Krylia Sovetov Samara. Status: fully paid off.
What happens if the buying club can no longer meet its payment obligations?
“As with any legal answer, the answer is not set in stone,” sports law attorney Colin Burger van Schenkeveldadvocaten told FootballFirst† “What is important are the contractual agreements made between the concerned clubs of the player in question.”
“In the concrete case of, for example, David Neres, who went from Ajax to Shakhtar Donetsk, it may be the case that in this case Ajax has stipulated ‘replacement security’ to the buying club, in the event of (partial) deferred payment of the transfer fee. As a rule, this can be a bank guarantee, for example. With a bank guarantee, a third party, in this case the bank, for example, guarantees payment of a (part of the) transfer fee, if the club in question cannot meet its payment obligations.
“If the club concerned is therefore unable to fulfill its obligation in the event of a war, the bank guarantee can be called on. In this exceptional case, however, the bank may also not be able to pay due to the war. Then (for the time being) at least) Ajax unpaid It is of course possible that at some point, let’s hope as soon as possible, the war will come to an end and the economy of the country in question will start up again.Then the bank guarantee may still be collected or payment performed by the club.”
To what extent is there force majeure due to the war?
“In international sports law, the general rule of law of force majeure is often included in the regulations in a certain way. There have been quite a few international rulings in which force majeure has been ruled before. The CAS usually indicates in its rulings on force majeure that there is a so-called objective impediment that was not foreseeable and which makes it impossible to comply with the agreements made. However, the main rule is that agreements made must be fulfilled, except in the situations mentioned above.”
“Because of the war in Ukraine, FIFA has drawn up temporary rules due to the (consequences of the) exceptional situation in question. However, it has not stipulated anything about the contractual obligations between clubs themselves. It is therefore up to the clubs to fulfill the agreed obligations among themselves. If clubs are unable to resolve the matter or if one of the clubs fails to meet its obligations, the past shows that FIFA may be requested by the club concerned to impose sanctions on the club that fails to meet its obligations. This could be a warning, reprimand, fine or a ban on buying or selling players in up to two transfer windows.”
“It is then up to the club that does not fulfill its obligations to inform FIFA about the reason. The club can refer to specific FIFA regulations, which state that in the event of force majeure and if the regulations If it does not provide for this, FIFA can (finally) decide. Invoking the exceptional situation such as the war, it is then up to FIFA to decide.
To what extent is a player contract binding during a war?
“Because of the war in Ukraine, FIFA has therefore drawn up temporary rules because of the (consequences of the) exceptional situation in question. For players who play for a club from Ukraine, a contract between an (international) player and a Ukrainian club automatically applies. will be suspended until June 30, 2022. The player concerned does not commit a breach of contract if he enters into a new employment contract with another club.For a player in Russia, an agreement can be unilaterally suspended until June 30, 2022, but with the condition that no later than before or no agreement could be reached between the parties on March 10, 2022. In that case, the player will not commit a breach of contract if he signs with a new club.”
Is there a chance that the player will return to the selling club if the buying club can no longer meet its payment obligations?
“A penalty against FIFA in the form of terminating the contract or canceling a transfer is actually not possible. An agreement can only be terminated by mutual agreement or by the expiry of the contract. In other words , players and clubs that conclude a contract between themselves, must in principle respect the obligations that follow from this.”
“The FIFA rules do contain an article that the contract can be terminated by either party without any consequences, if there is a just cause. Thus the agreement can be unilaterally terminated by (one of) the parties, without this being the case. compensation has to be paid or another (sporting) sanction can be imposed.”
“The relevant FIFA committee that deals with legal disputes takes into account all the circumstances of the case in its assessment. A good example is the situation where a player who has not received a salary for more than two months may terminate his employment contract with immediate effect.”
“According to FIFA’s rules or the decisions of the committee, there is therefore no rule that offers FIFA the possibility to undo the transfer and to oblige the player to return to his old club. It may of course be the case that the player in question does make new agreements with his old club after his employment contract with his current club has been terminated.”
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