Egypt keeper El Hadary banned for forcing transfer

Egypt keeper El Hadary banned for forcing transfer

Published Jun. 1, 2010 4:39 p.m. ET

Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary was banned from all football for four months Tuesday after walking out on his club midseason to join Swiss side FC Sion.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport also ruled that Sion should be banned from signing players for one year because it illegally took El Hadary from Egyptian club Al-Ahly in 2008.

The court dismissed El Hadary's appeal against his ban, ruling that football's world governing body FIFA was right to order the punishment last year.

FIFA said the verdict was ``very important, as it once again gives clear and strong support to the FIFA regulations and defends contractual stability in football.''


CAS said it did not accept FC Sion's appeal which was filed in the name of the top-tier club's amateur association and so ``did not have standing to appeal the FIFA decision.''

FIFA's disputes panel said El Hadary and Sion broke Article 17 of transfer rules which allow certain players under contract to force a move at the end of a season.

El Hadary's suspension ``will come into effect at the beginning of next season,'' the court said in a statement.

According to FIFA rules, a season starts with the first league matches, and El Hadary's current club Ismaily is scheduled to begin the Egyptian Premier League campaign in August.

He must also miss two qualifying matches for the 2012 African Cup of Nations: at home to Sierra Leone on Sept. 5, and away to Niger on Oct. 10.

A CAS interim ruling last year had frozen the bans, allowing Sion to sign players during the 2009-10 season transfer windows and El Hadary to play for Ismaily and his country.

A veteran of 121 international matches, El Hadary was in goal when Egypt was eliminated from the World Cup in a playoff against Algeria last November. He won a third straight Cup of Nations title last January in Angola.

CAS did partially admit El Hadary's appeal by reducing the amount of compensation he must pay Al-Ahly.

He and Sion are liable for $796,500 (?652,000), instead of the ?900,000 ($1.1 million) payment previously fixed by FIFA.

``The most important (criterion) being the evaluation of the transfer fee Al-Ahly was deprived of because of the breach of contract by the player,'' CAS said.

El Hadary demanded a move to Sion after playing in Egypt's African Cup of Nations-winning side in Jan. 2008.

He was the first player to exploit the so-called ``Webster Ruling'' - named after Scottish defender Andy Webster, who won a landmark freedom of contract case at CAS.

That CAS panel said Article 17 meant players could force a move after completing a certain period of their contract. Their old club would get no transfer fee but receive compensation equal to the remaining salary due to be paid.

However, FIFA rules also state that contracts ``cannot be unilaterally terminated during the course of a season.''

Sion's new coach Bernard Challandes, who was appointed last week, can sign players again after the 2010-11 season ends.