Marseille, Gayle in court fighting FIFA bans in Watford case

GENEVA (AP) — Facing a one-year transfer ban from FIFA, Marseille went to court Wednesday in a dispute with Watford…

GENEVA (AP) — Facing a one-year transfer ban from FIFA, Marseille went to court on Wednesday in a dispute with Watford over the 2020 signing of Senegalese midfielder Pape Gueye.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Guyer, who faces a four-month ban by FIFA for breaching his contract, was present at the start of the two-day hearing in Lausanne, Switzerland. No final sentencing date has been set.

Marseille are second in the French league and on course to qualify for next season’s Champions League, where the ban could come into effect if the club loses the case.

Marseille also face being banned from registering new players for two consecutive transfer windows, while Guyer could face a four-month ban from all football. The punishments were originally handed down by FIFA last year, but were suspended pending an appeal verdict.

Watford announced in April 2020 that it had reached a preliminary agreement with Paris-born Gueye, a French youth international then playing for Le Havre, on a five-year deal that will start after this season.

Gayle, then 21, turned down a move to Watford later signed a contract with Marseille.who finished second in Ligue 1 and qualified for next season’s Champions League.

Watford took a breach of contract claim to FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber, which ruled in the club’s favor and banned Marseille and Gueye. Marseille were reportedly due to pay Watford 2.5 million euros ($2.6 million).

Watford announced the ruling in January 2022 while Gueye was with Senegal at the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon. He helped Senegal win that tournament and played in three of the country’s World Cup games in Qatar.

The CAS case combines three separate appeals filed by each of the clubs and the player.

Gueye has since been loaned out by Marseille to play for Sevilla until the end of the season, but was not included in the Spanish squad for the Europa League. Six-time champions Sevilla host Fenerbahce in the Round of 16 on Thursday.


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