CAS Partially Upholds FIFA Ruling in Marseille-Watford Dispute
Olympique de Marseille can breathe a sigh of relief as the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has partially upheld FIFA's ruling on the dispute with Watford, which means they will no longer face a one-year transfer ban. The conflict arose in 2020 when Pape Gueye, the Senegalese international, signed a pre-contract with Watford while still under contract with Le Havre, a Ligue 2 club.
Reports from French media suggest that Gueye changed his agent, who advised him to withdraw from the Watford deal. Instead, he opted for a four-year contract with Marseille in July 2020, where he has been a part of 100 matches across various competitions.
In January 2022, FIFA suspended Gueye from official matches for four months, and Marseille received the transfer ban for allegedly inducing the player to breach his contract. However, CAS later suspended FIFA's decision and, on Thursday, confirmed the validity of the ruling, except for the transfer ban on Marseille, which was set aside.
The CAS statement mentioned that the panel agreed with FIFA's determination that Gueye had terminated his Watford contract without just cause. However, they also found that Marseille had successfully refuted the presumption of inducement, leading to the annulment of the disciplinary sanction against the club.
As part of the resolution, Marseille will need to compensate Watford with 2.3 million pounds ($2.95 million).
Despite the dispute, Marseille's performance in Ligue 1 remained commendable, securing a third-place finish behind champions Paris St Germain and RC Lens.