Case FRMF / CAF : the appeal of the Moroccan FA is upheld in a large part by the CAS

AFFAIRE FRMF / CAF: L’APPEL DE LA FEDERATION ROYALE MAROCAINE DE FOOTBALL EST EN GRANDE PARTIE ADMIS PAR LE TRIBUNAL ARBITRAL DU SPORT (TAS)

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2 April 2015 - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) HAS Issued icts decision concernant the Appeals Procedure Initiated by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) Against the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Following the non-organization by the FRMF of the African Cup of Nations in January 2015. The CAS Panel upheld the appeal HAS in a large proportion. The Sanctions Imposed by the CAF on the FRMF-have-been set aside, with the exception of the fine, qui est HOWEVER Reduced to USD 50,000. The disqualification of the team from the Moroccan CAN 2015 is final. The issue related to the compensation of the damage as possible Caused by the FRMF to the CAF May still be Examined by Reviews another jurisdiction.

A detailed media release (in French only) can be seen here.

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April 2, 2015 - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rendered its decision in the context of the appeal procedure initiated by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) against the Confederation of African Football (CAF). The CAS allowed the appeal to a large extent. The penalties imposed by the FCA to the Moroccan Federation were canceled, with the exception of the fine, which is however reduced to USD 50,000.

The FMRF had withdrawn from the organization of the 2015 edition of the African Nations Cup

(CAN) in Morocco, because of the outbreak of the Ebola virus, which had led the Executive Committee of CAF to make two decisions dated February 6, 2015: In an initial decision FRMF had been excluded from the next two editions CAN (2017 and 2019) and was fined USD 1 million, and a second decision, the FRMF was ordered to pay EUR 8.05 million "in compensation for the material damage suffered all by CAF and stakeholders due to the discontinuance ".

In his appeal to CAS FRMF sought a declaration that the nullity of the contested decisions. This case was handled in 7 weeks and a hearing was held at the CAS headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, March 17, 2015. The CAS was composed of Professor Luigi Fumagalli, Italy (Chairman), François Klein, France, and Mr. Michele Bernasconi, Switzerland.

The CAS considered to be competent to hear both the decision on financial sanctions that the decision on sporting sanctions. On the merits, the Panel concluded that no regulatory provision allowed the CAF to unilaterally force the FRMF to pay compensation for damage. Training, however, did not rule out the right of the CIF to obtain compensation for any damage, including through the implementation of the arbitration procedure provided especially in the Organisation Agreement of the African Cup Nations (CAN).

Regarding the sport sanctions, the Panel considered that the Executive Committee of CAF had the power to impose sanctions on FRMF and found that the decision to withdraw the organization of the CAN in 2015 had become final and could not be questioned.

Training held, in substance, that the FRMF could not rely on a force majeure since the Ebola epidemic did not make possible the organization of the CAN in Morocco.

Training, however, reduces the penalties, considering in particular that:

  1. FRMF was responsible for the violation of only one rule, namely art. 7 al. 1 a) of the Statutes of CAF;
  2. fine of USD 1 million could be imposed, the financial penalty is prescribed by the rules that were not yet in force at the time of withdrawal of the organization of the CAN 2015, and only the fine under the 2011 resolution of the ADC could be applied (maximum USD 50,000);
  3. excluding Morocco's A team the next two editions of the CAN was not expressly provided for by the regulations in force at the time of withdrawal of the organization of the CAN 2015 and in any case, given the circumstances of the case, was not proportionate to the fault of the FRMF; arbitrators have also considered the fact that Morocco's A team had already been excluded from the CAN 2015 and the FRMF had to bear the financial damage that this exclusion had caused and expenses incurred in connection with the organization of CAN 2015.

Therefore, the following decision was made by the CAS:

  1. The appeal filed by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation against the decision of 6 February 2015 made by the Executive Committee of the African Football Confederation concerning financial penalties is allowed.
  2. The decision of 6 February 2015 made by the Executive Committee of the African Football Confederation concerning financial penalties is canceled.
  3. The appeal filed by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation against the decision of 6 February 2015 made by the Executive Committee of the African Football Confederation regarding sporting sanctions is partially admitted.
  4. The decision of 6 February 2015 made by the Executive Committee of the African Football Confederation regarding sporting sanctions is reformed in the sense that (1) the suspension of the national team of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation from participating in two Future editions of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2017 and 2019, is canceled, and (2) regulatory fine imposed on the Royal Moroccan Football Federation is reduced to USD 50,000.

The full award with the grounds will be published later.

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