Fulham face new transfer ban over Saha 'debt'

Fulham are facing the possibility that they may be banned for a second time this year from making any international transfers, over issues arising from unpaid debts on previous deals.

The first ban was implemented in January by Fifa, football's world governing body, in a move that Fulham chose to keep secret as they took rapid action to see it lifted.

The ban arose because of an outstanding debt of £3.2m owed to the French First Division club, Lyon, from the £11.5m transfer of Steve Marlet in July of 2001.

Fulham could find themselves facing a second - potentially more disruptive - ban over an alleged debt owed to Metz arising from Fulham's sale of Louis Saha to Manchester United earlier this year.

Metz, for whom Saha played between 1997 and 2000, claim they are due a sell-on fee from that deal, worth 15 per cent of the profit Fulham made when selling the centre-forward Saha for £12.8m to United.

Metz say they are still owed £1.3m and claim they have failed to receive any response from Fulham to their inquiries made while chasing the debt.

Metz's president, Charles Molinari, has decided to complain to Fifa about the matter. "We know it might take months but we will be patient," a club spokesman said.

A Fulham spokeswoman said the club had no comment to make on the matter. "It is in the hands of our legal experts."

If Metz do not receive payment, it is likely that Fifa will refer the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the Switzerland-based independent body that rules on sporting disputes.

The Fulham-Lyon case over Marlet was also referred to the CAS and it was the CAS that demanded Fulham pay Lyon. Failure to do so led to the transfer ban in January. Fulham denied yesterday that January's ban "prohibited us from signing any players" but this appears to be semantics rather than fact.

Faced with the ban, Fulham acted so rapidly in settling their debt to Lyon that the ban did not disrupt any planned signings. Yet the ban had been served and was in place on 21 January.

"This ban comes into effect today," Fifa confirmed in a letter dated 21 January to Mark Palios, then the chief executive of the Football Association. It was Palios's job to enforce the ban in England.

A Fifa spokesman told The Independent yesterday: "I can confirm that Fulham was placed under an international transfer ban on 21 January, 2004, a ban that was in place until confirmation had been received by Fifa that Olympique Lyonnais had received the monies owed to them for the transfer of Steve Marlet."

Faced with the ban, Fulham made immediate payment to Lyon, meaning they were free to sign the USA international Brian McBride within days.

According to Chris Synnott, a solicitor who acted for Lyon in the Marlet case and who now works for the West End firm, the Simkins Partnership, said: "Fifa envisages the CAS playing an increasingly active role in football-related disputes as part of Fifa's wish that disputes are, wherever possible, resolved within the football family.

"To this end, clubs should be aware that the threat of transfer bans and/or points deductions is a very real one in the event of non-compliance with a CAS decision."

Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Sport
Raheem Sterling of Liverpool celebrates scoring the opening goal
footballLIVE: Follow all the latest from tonight's Capital One quarter-finals
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
News
Not quite what they were expecting
news

When teaching the meaning of Christmas backfires

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Angelina Jolie and Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal at the Golden Globes in 2011
film
Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Scandi crush: Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

Th Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need
Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Its use is always wrong and, despite CIA justifications post 9/11, the information obtained from it is invariably tainted, argues Patrick Cockburn
Rebranding Christmas: More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence

Rebranding Christmas

More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence. They are missing the point, and we all need to grow up