FIFA slaps transfer ban on Belgian club for 3rd-party deals

ZURICH (AP) FIFA has banned a Belgian second-tier club from signing players for two years after agreeing to third-party ownership deals.

FIFA says its disciplinary committee also fined Seraing United 150,000 Swiss francs ($155,000).

Seraing ”sold part of the economic rights of several players to a third party,” despite FIFA banning the financing model this year.

FIFA acted after a campaign by UEFA that compared third-party investors to loan sharks, who forced players to move clubs solely for profit-taking and threatened football’s integrity.

Seraing joined Malta-based investment fund Doyen in a failed challenge to FIFA’s ban in a Belgian court in July. They argued the ban broke European Union competition laws.

Doyen reportedly contributed 300,000 euros ($340,000) to Seraing’s budget this season to buy 30 percent of some players’ transfer rights.