Barcelona sneaks in secret hearing with Arbitration Court

From the moment Barcelona were found guilty of child trafficking for a second time they announced that they would appeal to the Court of Arbitration in Sport.  Technically the appeal would be against the decision of the FIFA Appeals Committee to confirm the decision taken by the FIFA Disciplinary Chamber in which the club was sanctioned with a transfer ban for two periods, a fine of 450,000 Swiss Francs and a reprimand.

With no newspapers or broadcast media wanting to cover what is an embarrassing story for Barcelona, I’ve tried to keep an eye on matters by watching the CAS list of cases.

But it seems that I have not been active enough, or that even hearing dates have become secret, because it appears that FC Barcelona has filed an appeal at CAS against the sanction after the club was (to use the technical language) found to have infringed the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players in relation to the registration of a number of minor players.

Now it is possible that I missed the listing of the appeal on the CAS website – but given the secrecy of the appeal it is possible that Barcelona persuaded CAS not to list the appeal for some reason.  A worrying development if true.

In its appeal to the CAS, which was held in secret the club asked either for an annulment of the FIFA decision or a lighter sanction.   It seems that CAS agreed to what it calls its “expedited procedure” which means that while most organisations have to wait months for a hearing this one has gone straight through.  Thus if CAS find in Barcelona’s favour they will be free to transfer in January.

It seems that the hearing was held at the CAS Court Office on 5 December 2014 and a decision has been promised before the end of 2014.

This secrecy (or at very best lack of publicity and lack of media coverage everywhere except on one site other than this) is frustrating to say the least.

The case first came to our attention nearly two years ago when Fifa blocked Barcelona from selecting children from South Korea, France, Nigeria and Cameroon for competitive matches.   This followed the strengthening of Fifa transfer rules in 2010 after the first allegations emerged that clubs were involved in child trafficking with agents touring third world countries in particular promising riches to families if they could take their children away.

Many went, and most were abandoned when their talent was revealed to be not high enough for clubs, but Barcelona was implicated in the trade.

Meanwhile with the CAS at the moment not covering itself in democratic glory (court cases should be widely listed guys and held in public – otherwise how can we ever believe things are not fixed?) Fifa has been clearing up some of its mess largely by hearing complaints against itself (a clever trick if anyone ever accuses you of anything) and announcing the results.

Michael Garcia’s complaint about the summary of his report that was published by Hans-Joachim Eckert and which contained, he said, “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations” has been dismissed by… well, Fifa.

The appeals committee is now involved in the scandal, but still found it possible to declare that the summary “does not constitute a decision and as such is neither legally binding nor appealable”

Meanwhile, the two whistleblowers who worked on the Qatari and Australia bid had their complaints that the summary failed to protect their anonymity thrown out.

The disciplinary committee found that there was no complaint to answer.

Next up Fifa’s executive committee will meet in Morocco, and will  vote on whether a redacted version of Garcia’s report should be made public as Garcia himself wants.

But where this will get anyone is not clear, since Russia did not co-operate with the enquiry claiming that when bidding for the world cup it rented computer and those have gone back to the leasing company and they have wiped the hard drive.

With both issues now coming to the fore we should be able to see the working relationship between CAS and Fifa.   CAS’ credibility in being a fair and open court has gone given that the vitally important appeal by Barcelona is being held in secret – an ominous sign given that Barcelona’s defence in the first trial and its repeated defence in the first appeal was basically, “We are Barcelona we don’t traffick children, our academy is world class”.

The question is, if there is a defence, why was it not brought out at the first hearing?  If there is no defence then CAS should side at once with Fifa.  If there is a defence, we are left utterly in the dark not knowing what the hell is going on.

So in terms of football’s secret society, no change there.

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19 Replies to “Barcelona sneaks in secret hearing with Arbitration Court”

  1. Fifa examining themselves, judging themselves, declaring themselves free from any wrongdoing… how on earth can the rest of the football world accept this?
    Maybe because….they are all doing the same things themselves?

  2. Thanks for this post. It is utterly depressing that the corridors of power and governance in this beautiful game is peopled by a gang of cheats. Reminds one of the old story of Ali Baba and the forty thieves.

  3. Of topic but I just noticed that the tv ads for FIFA 15 have Barcelona playing man city.
    Strange that’s how the CL draw turned out but it could just me.

  4. In football terms this is just so depressing.

    It’s bad enough that it’s happening.

    What makes it worse is that you just KNEW that this was going to happen.

    As somebody said elsewhere on another thread, it’s all about the biggest ‘cash cows’ and the protection of those particular brands at any cost.

    It happens in the PL with Manchester united, Chelsea and Manchester City. It happens in Spain with Real Madrid and Barcalona.

    And yet despite the obvious stench of corruption that exudes from every pour of the games governing body we still have people proclaiming it is not possible that PL Refs are not working to an agenda and that the PGMO are totally fair and above board.

    The games custodians reek of corruption from top to bottom.

  5. Do not be surprised if Barcelona get away with it, the fine returned and an apology received from FIFA.
    Together with Real Madrid, Barcelona run Spain and FIFA know that and are suitably humble.

  6. It beggars belief that a World Cup tournament was awarded in the first place to Qatar. Why not hold it in a large oven and have done with it? Unfortunately, FIFA seems to be accountable to no-one, so the chicanery will just run and run and run. No possibility of shaming clowns such as Blatter and Co. into cleansing the stables.

  7. One of the problems is that things have been allowed to go on for too long and practices that are now, quite rightly, seen to be illegal or at very least inadvisable, are built in to clubs business plans. They got where they are today by employing these strategies and are hardly likely to give them up without a fight. FFP is facing similarly tricky problems.
    When the ‘governing’ body also shares the same route to its current position of power then the likelihood of change is diminished yet further.
    I well remember Ivan Gazidis, in his first open meeting with fans (the AST if I remember rightly) saying that his initial impressions of how football worked in Europe was ‘like the wild west’. However, coming as he did from the much more regulated situation in the US,he felt confident that ‘if it can’t go on, it won’t go on.
    Changing things for the better is proving to be like turning round the proverbial oil tanker and those that are seeking to do it (including, I believe, Ivan) should be given as much support as we are able togive them.
    As a football fan I lived through the sixties, seventies and eighties when fans were all painted as thugs and hooligansby the media. We are now in danger of being regarded as supporting criminal organisations who themselves are primarily used for money and reputation laundering.
    It may be frustrating for Arsenal fans if they feel that the club is being ‘held back’ by sticking too firmly to its principles and some some semblance of the moral high ground.
    But change is happening even if only that light is being shed in corners which have never seen it before. It cannot now be switched off.

  8. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again and again.

    There are numerous organizations based in Switzerland, they are extremly powerful, enjoy a level of unparalleld immunity and are corrupt to the bone.

    FIFA, UEFA, the Olympic Committee, the UN. I am sure that if Switzerland had oil, OPEC would have been located somewhere between Zurich and Geneva.

    Mind you – it is not some 3rd world country dominated by a corrupt dictator. These are all very “respectable” organizations, which were set up, allegedly, to the benefit of everybody.

    What a fucking joke, really.

    Stop being surprised, that’s all I’m saying.

  9. Its the same with the FA & PGMO as it is with FIFA. They are all set up by honourable cheats so much so that they have a facility of disappearing up their own digestive systems. They are a Law unto themselves & cannot be questioned.

  10. @ Menace – I wish. The FA and PGMO are choir boys in comparison to FIFA, UEFA, the Olympic Committee and the rest of the Swiss cheeses.

  11. Just to clarify one point in the article, the point about it is that Fifa found FC Barcelona and the Spanish FA guilty of colluding together in the breaking of their regulations, Arsenal have not been charged with such an offence. That seems to be a difference to me – but of course I appreciate now that not everyone sees it that way.

    Anyway quite a lot of abuse coming in – as is often the case when I touch on this subject. As with all our commentaries, if you have anything that shows we are quite wrong, a link to the relevant source would help make the point. But I am not quite sure why anyone would think that we would be likely to publish a post which is simply written to tell us that we are just about the lowest of the low. I mean, really, why would we?

    I know, and I guess every Arsenal supporter knows, that there are some people in the wider world who are consumed with hatred for the club we support. We know that, there is no need to write in with examples of it, because, well, we got the message a long time ago.

  12. Sorry Walter and Tony for posting in the wrong place.

    Apparently the two whistleblowers are annoyed at FIFA as well.

    Lots of hits in Google News on this now. Possibly not in Spain though (Google had said they were going to leave Spain due to some change in Copyright legislation).

  13. thanks for this Tony, I was wondering what had happened to Barca’s appeal and surprised (read – not surprised a bit) that the media neglected to run with FIFA coverup yesterday regarding Garcia. I suppose there were more important things to discuss, like whether United can win the league and Robbie Savage’s new glasses.

  14. I see Blatter is surprised that someone would resign from FIFA.
    I surpose this what you get when you make a mistake and appoint someone with ethics to head up an ethics committee.

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