FIFA, civil court! – Segun Odegbami

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There is something not quite clear about the issue of whether some football matters can be taken to a civil court or not.
Nigeria has been threatened several times with a ban because certain stakeholders had taken internal matters within their federation to a civil court.
The usual ‘refrain’ by a school of thought has always being that football matters should never be taken to court or else a country’s FA will be banned or sanctioned.
Yet, here we are, a third division club in Belgium has taken FIFA to a Belgian civil court, over the rule imposed by FIFA of a ban on third party ownership of players.
Plus the decision of a Belgian Appeal court challenging the blanket power of the Court of Sports Arbitration (CAS) (as result of the same matter) to have exclusive jurisdiction over all football matters. The appeal court says such exclusivity is illegitimate.
I am waiting anxiously for FIFA’s reaction.
Will FIFA ban the Belgium club, or the Belgian Football Federation that ‘allowed’ the matter to be taken to a civil court. Or will FIFA abide by the judgement of the European civil court?
Bosman’s celebrated case several years ago comes to mind – a European court’s decision on international transfer of players in Europe became binding on FIFA and has impacted the issue of player transfers all over the world since then.
If FIFA does nothing, it will be a confirmation that the body is biased against Nigeria, and selective in its application of its own rule that says that NO football matters shall be taken to a civil court for settlement, and that the decision of CAS is final on all such matters.

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