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International transfer of minors in football - key takeaways and procedural issues from Chelsea & The FA v. FIFA

Junior Football
Thursday, 20 June 2019 By Dr Despina Mavromati, Jake Cohen

Following the Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid cases1, Chelsea Football Club (Chelsea) are the latest high-profile club to be sanctioned by FIFA for alleged violations relating to Article 19 of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (FIFA RSTP) and the international transfers of minor players.

This article will analyse some key procedural issues in international football disputes, as well as look ahead at arguments Chelsea may raise before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (the CAS)

While this matter is ongoing, some important procedural issues have already been raised, and which have practical applicability that goes far beyond the scope of this specific case.

In particular, this matter provides an excellent case study for which some crucial procedural questions can be addressed, specifically:

  • May a party appeal a decision without grounds to the CAS?

  • May a party request provisional measures from the CAS prior to filing its appeal brief?

  • Does a refusal to grant provisional measures by the FIFA Appeals Committee constitute a “final decision” under the relevant regulations?

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Written by

Despina Mavromati

Dr Despina Mavromati

Dr. Despina Mavromati is an attorney at the Swiss law firm BianchiSchwald and an arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). She has extensive experience in international sports law and arbitration. She represents athletes, clubs and federations and advises on regulatory and sports governance matters, including the recognition and enforcement of awards and freezing of assets in Switzerland. Despina has acted as counsel, co-counsel, expert or arbitrator in numerous sports arbitrations, involving contractual, governance, doping-related and other disciplinary and ethics matters. Recognized as a Thought Leader by Who’s Who Legal in Switzerland every year since 2018, “Despina Mavromati is “brilliant and accomplished” and “an amazing lawyer with immense knowledge and expertise when it comes to disputes before the CAS” (Who’s Who Legal 2023).

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Jake Cohen

Jake Cohen

Jake is a senior associate and founding member of the Sports & Entertainment team at Lawrence Stephens. He acts for clients on both contentious and non-contentious matters.

Jake acts on high-profile matters within sport and his calm, direct and focused approach coupled with his strong commercial background and experience working with key stakeholders across the global sporting industry enables him to communicate and distil complex legal matters into practical advice in an engaging, accessible, and actionable way.

He specialises in advising clients on commercial, image rights, employment, complex regulatory and cross-border matters in addition to acting for clients in disputes before The FA, FIFA, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Given the international nature of his work, Jake frequently collaborates with colleagues from a variety of different countries, jurisdictions and backgrounds.

Jake is passionate about ensuring that costs are not a barrier to receiving top legal advice and access to justice and he regularly provides pro bono assistance to young athletes and entrepreneurs. Additionally, he has been a member of the American Bar Association’s Military Pro Bono Project since qualifying as a lawyer.

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