Marseille to avoid transfer ban over Watford and Papa Gueye dispute – CAS

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has partially upheld a FIFA ruling regarding a dispute between Olympique de Marseille and Watford over the signing of Pape Gueye.

As a result, Marseille will no longer be subject to a one-year transfer ban. 

The dispute arose in 2020 when Gueye, a Senegal international, signed a pre-contract with Watford before his contract with Ligue 2 club Le Havre had ended.

French media reports state that Gueye subsequently switched agents, who advised him to withdraw from the agreement. Instead, the midfielder, who was born in France, opted to sign a four-year contract with Marseille in July 2020. 

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Since then, he has played in 100 matches across various competitions for the club. In January 2022, FIFA imposed a four-month suspension on Gueye, preventing him from participating in official matches, while Marseille received a one-year transfer ban for influencing the player to violate his contract.

Later that month, CAS suspended FIFA’s ruling, but on Thursday sport’s highest court announced that it had upheld the soccer governing body’s decision “with the exception of the transfer ban imposed on OM, which is set aside”.

“… the panel reached the same conclusion as the FIFA DRC in determining that the player had indeed terminated his contract with Watford FC without just cause…,” a CAS statement added.

“However, the CAS Panel determined that OM had in fact rebutted the presumption of inducement and annulled the disciplinary sanction imposed on OM.”

According to CAS, Marseille will be required to give Watford a compensation of 2.3 million pounds ($2.95 million). 

Marseille came in third place in Ligue 1, with Paris Saint Germain and RC Lens taking first and second place respectively.

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