On behalf of FC Shakhtar Donetsk, Club Chief Executive Officer, Sergei Palkin, has made the following statement:
Ukrainian football club, FC Shakhtar, has today (29 March 2023) filed a complaint under article 7 of the Regulation (EC) no. 1/2003 before the European Union Commission against FIFA regarding the ongoing suspension of employment contracts by international players and coaches.
This complaint follows the Club’s intention to appeal against the decision of the FIFA Council to extend the temporary amendments to the FIFA Rules on Status and Transfer of Players by means of Circulars 1800 and 1804. Action has been taken to file this complaint to the European Commission given the importance and reliance of FC Shakhtar to undertake transfer market trading with players within the European Union – and the obvious impact FIFA’s decision has had on the Club’s EU market activities. Therefore, it is entirely legitimate and fair to bring this complaint before the EU Commission since FIFA’s actions violate EU competition law.
FC Shakhtar’s dispute with FIFA centres on the global football governing body’s actions in 2022 which led to the automatic suspension of the Club’s international players and coaches contracts following the illegal and aggressive invasion of Russia’s armed forces into Ukraine. Many international players then left the Club on free transfers. The over-reaching measures applied by FIFA led to massive loss of player transfer income and a depletion of essential Club revenues amounting to approximately 40 million Euros (€).
CAS dismissed FC Shakhtar’s claims so the Club is appealing all decisions on the matter. We will continue to contest the original ruling made by the Bureau of the FIFA Council on 20 June 2022 relating to automatic suspension of international contracts. FIFA set this ruling to last until June 2023, which the Club believes to be illegal. There is also a high risk of its further extension until June 2024. All parties are still waiting for the grounds of the original CAS award which went in favour of FIFA in January 2023.
As a Club we have experienced the bias and injustice inherent within international football’s legal system – a process that lacks integrity and transparency and is clearly not fit for purpose. FIFA has built a system where it can influence the outcome of CAS decisions so we call for international football to unite and reform our sport’s legal procedures and governance standards. CAS should be protected from the influence of all external parties – including FIFA – and be able to rule on cases independently with full impartiality and fairness.
We expect the European Commission to understand and appreciate the extreme financial pressures being placed on our Club due to FIFA’s actions – at a time when our nation is being ravaged by an illegal war. Even in these most tragic and desperate times, football offers relief, and we hope as a Ukrainian club we can be allowed to function properly to bring some joy to our supporters, players and our families.