In what is a major victory for I-League champions Chennai City FC, the All India Football Federation's (AIFF) Player Status Commitee has imposed a transfer ban on Indian Super League (ISL) side FC Pune City for attempting to recruit Spanish midfielder Nestor Gordillo without paying the South Indian side due compensation.
The committee has also slapped a four-month ban on Gordillo for trying to illegally circumvent his contract with Chennai City. Gordillo has also been directed to pay a one-time compensation amounting to three months' salary to Chennai City along with a fine of INR 50000 to the AIFF.
Gordillo now will have to serve a four-month ban from playing in any official matches organised by or under the aegis of AIFF.
FC Pune City were found to have induced the breach of contract and attempted to misguide the Player Status Committee during their submissions. As a result, the Stallions have been banned from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, for two transfer windows - the upcoming winter transfer window (1st Jan 2020 - 31st Jan 2020) and the next summer's transfer window.
The club has also been fined an amount of INR 500000. The Indian FA's decision also serves as a major deterrant to clubs looking to poach players without paying due compensation from clubs like Chennai City who have unearthed such talents after thorough scouting and hard work.
Earlier in June, the I-League champions had sought the All India Football Federation's (AIFF) intervention, accusing Indian Super League (ISL) club FC Pune City of trying to poach Nestor Gordillo.
The Indian FA had sought an explanation from both parties. While Pune City denied their involvement in the matter, Gordillo informed AIFF that his contract was breached as he has not been paid bonuses for winning the I-League title by Chennai City.
Following submissions from the two clubs and the player, the AIFF noted that Chennai City had clarified that Gordillo's salary dues were settled in a timely manner and the club had promised to pay his competition bonus once the club receives the payment from AIFF.
Meanwhile, Pune City replied to the committee stating, “We categorically deny and refute any allegations or insinuations with regard to FC Pune City negotiating, agreeing and signing a contract with the said player (Gordillo).”
However, Chennai City contested that the player, who was contracted to the club till 30th May 2020, had entered into a contract with Pune City on 2nd May 2019. The club also submitted a photostat copy of the aforementioned contract between the player and Pune City.
Following this development, the player claimed that the document was just a pre-contract subject to Pune City and Chennai City coming to an agreement.
Pune City were also forced to change their stance, saying, "FC Pune City has not concluded any contract with Mr. Nestor Jesus Gordillo Benitez which may amount to transfer. FC Pune City had initiated discussions with Chennai City FC in the month of May 2019, but such negotiations were not concluded. This document was merely a Proforma template of an understanding with an ISL Player and both the parties never intended for it to be a concluded contract."
However, Pune City's lawyer did agree that such a contract should never have been signed in the first place between the player and the club.
This is the reported contract signed between Nestor Gordillo and @FCPuneCity which the AIFF's Player Status Committee ruled as a breach of the player's contract with @ChennaiCityFC #Gordillo #IndianFootball #CCFC #FCPC pic.twitter.com/Og991VWQ0c— Ashwin Muralidharan (@AshwinMNair10) August 13, 2019
The Player Status Committee, in the light of these arguments, ruled in favour of the I-League club.
Nestor had played a key role in Chennai City's incredible campaign that saw them romp their way to the I-League title, scoring eight goals and providing numerous assists. Much of the credit for the brilliant campaign had gone to the excellent socuting and recruitment from Chennai City which saw them rope in a set of talented overseas players who propelled them to a historic title.
The club will feel a sense of justice after the judgement ensured they do not miss out on a quality player they identified and brought to the country for cheap.