Nestor Gordillo, who was instrumental in Chennai City FC’s march to the 2018-19 I-League title, was poached by FC Pune City a few weeks after the season’s conclusion.
The player’s status committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) imposed a two-window transfer ban on Indian Super League (ISL) side FC Pune City, along with a fine of Rs 5 lakh, for “inducing a breach of contract” to sign Spanish midfielder Nestor Gordillo without paying Chennai City FC the transfer fee.
At the end of the last I-league season, Chennai City FC launched a complaint over the way FC Pune City had unsettled the player, and eventually poached him from the club. While Pune City denied their involvement in the matter, Gordillo informed the AIFF that his contract was breached as he has not been paid bonuses for winning the I-League title by Chennai City.
Following submissions from the two clubs and the player, the AIFF noted that Chennai City had clarified that Gordillo's salary dues were settled in a timely manner and the club had promised to pay his competition bonus once it receives the payment from AIFF.
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The AIFF’s decision sets a precedent for ISL clubs who regularly poach players without paying due compensation to smaller clubs who unearth talent after thorough scouting and hard work.
The committee handed a four-month ban to Gordillo, who signed a “pre-contract” with the Pune club despite having a year left in his contract with Chennai City FC. The Spaniard has been asked to pay a compensation of three-months salary to the club, and pay a fine of Rs 50,000 to the AIFF. The committee also found Pune of misguiding the committee by providing wrong information in its defence.
“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,” Chennai City owner Rohit Ramesh said. “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.”
In addition to levying a punishment on Gordillo, the committee’s judgement also found 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.”
Finding it guilty of breaching contract, the committee has banned Pune City from signing players for two transfer windows and fined them Rs. 5,00,000. The ban starts from the January window.
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“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 said.
The player and the club can appeal to the AIFF’s Appeal Committee and FC Pune City’s CEO Gaurav Modwel confirmed that his club would do so.
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