Arsenal to Pay FIFA £34,000 Fine Over Secrecy in players’ contract

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World football governing body, FIFA, has fined Arsenal football club £34,000 for adding secret sell-on clauses in the contracts of two players they sold in 2018. FIFA also accused the club of not declaring the data in the Transfer Matching System of the football governing body.

Based on the findings of FIFA, the two players that have been identified as victims of this practice are 24-year-old Chuba Amechi Akpom and 28-year-old Joel Campbell. FIFA has been investigating the terms and conditions in their contracts since January 2020. FIFA disciplinary committee concluded their investigation and passed the verdict on Thursday.

Arsenal’s Clause on Joel Campbell’s contract

Clause Arsenal placed on Joel Campbell's contract
Joel Campbell

FIFA‘s investigation revealed that Campbell, a Costa Rican international signed a three year deal with an Italian club, Frosinone, on August 2018, after going on series of loans because he was not able to establish himself at Arsenal.

In the transfer deal Arsenal had with Frosinone, the English club added a sell on-clause in it which would discourage Frosinone from selling the footballer to a British club because if they do, Arsenal would get 30 per cent of the transfer fee. Another condition that Arsenal added to the contract was that if Frosinone sells Campbell to another club outside Britain, the Premier League club would get 25 per cent of the transfer fee.

Campbell who left Frosinone to join Liga MX club, León, on loan has made his loan deal in Mexico permanent but the details of the contract and whether Arsenal got their 25 per cent of their proceeds from the contract have not been made public as at the time of publishing this report.

Clause Arsenal placed on Chuba Akpom’s contract

Former player of Arsenal football club Chuba Akpom
Chuba Akpom

In the same vein, Arsenal sold Chuba Akpom to Greek Super League club PAOK Salonika on a three-year deal on 2 August 2018 with a similar sell-on clause on his contract. In his case, Arsenal would get 40 per cent of the transfer fee if Akpom joins a club in Britain and the Premier League side would get 30 per cent of the transfer fee if he joins a club outside Britain.

This is believed to be against FIFA transfer rule because this has given Arsenal the power to influence the transfer of the two players to another club. Hence, there would be a third party involvement in any transfer deal that Frosinone and PAOK decide to execute on the players they bought from the English club.

While giving its verdict on Thursday, FIFA disciplinary committee wrote: “The committee considers that, by the mere existence of these clauses, Frosinone and PAOK FC are influenced by Arsenal in employment and transfer-related matters.

“The committee considers that the relevant clauses undoubtedly grant Arsenal the ability to influence in employment undoubtedly grant Arsenal the ability to influence in employment and transfer-related matters the independence, policies and the performance of PAOK FC and Frosinone’s teams.”

However, Arsenal insisted that the terms of the contract did not give them the power to influence the transfer decisions of the clubs they sold their players to. Still, FIFA warned the English club that they risk stiffer sanctions if such a practice continues.