Arsenal handed FIFA fine over secret sell-on clauses for player transfers

Arsenal have been fined by FIFA and warned about its conduct regarding player transfers.

World football’s governing body have fined the Premier League club £34,000 and the Gunners have been warned that they could face harsher sanctions in future.

It comes following an investigation into the transfers of Chuba Akpom and Joel Campbell in 2018, discovered by the Associated Press.

Akpom was sold to Greek club PAOK, while Costa Rica forward Campbell joined Italian side Frosinone.

However, sell-on clauses placed in their contracts were variable, meaning if either returned to clubs in the UK, Arsenal would receive a bigger fee.

In Akpom’s case, Arsenal would receive 40 per cent of the transfer fee if he moved to a British club, but only 30 per cent if he went elsewhere.

Frosinone would pay Arsenal 30 per cent of any fee if Campbell was sold back to the UK, but only 25 per cent if he went anywhere else.

The discovery of the sell-on clauses has seen an investigation take place since January, having not been initially declared.

The FIFA disciplinary committee found Arsenal to be violating rules for entering into contracts that thus enabled it to influence other clubs, and also for failing to declare data in its Transfer Matching System.

“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,” FIFA disciplinary committee member Thomas Hollerer wrote in the verdict document on Thursday.

“The committee considers that the relevant clauses 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.”

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Hollerer added: “It is evident that in a scenario in which PAOK FC and/or Frosinone receive two similar and/or identical offers for the transfer of the relevant players, one being from a club in the United Kingdom and the other one coming from a club outside the United Kingdom, PAOK FC and Frosinone would be more inclined to accept the offer coming from the club outside the United Kingdom, as it would make the operation most profitable from a purely financial point of view.”

FIFA have also told Arsenal that FIFA that “should such infringements occur again in the future, the committee would be left with no other option than to impose harsher sanctions.”

In their defence, Arsenal said that both the Premier League and the FA were satisfied there was no breach of third-party influence rules.

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