Lausanne, 4 February 2014 – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed the appeal filed by the Cape Verdean Football Federation (FCF) against the FIFA Appeal Committee (the FIFA AC) decision of 23 September 2013.
In such decision, the FIFA AC entirely confirmed an earlier decision of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee (FIFA DC) in which the FCF was found to have fielded an ineligible player during a FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Tunisia and sanctioned with the loss of the match 3-0. Consequently, the results of the qualifying rounds for the FIFA World Cup 2014 remain unchanged.
Previously, on 7 May 2013, the FIFA DC had sanctioned the Cape Verdean player Fernando Varela (the Player) with a four-match ban for unsporting behaviour towards a match official during a World Cup qualifying match. On 7 September 2013, the Player took part in the World Cup qualifying match of the national team of Cape Verde against Tunisia. Several days later, disciplinary proceedings were opened against the FCF for having fielded the Player. The FIFA DC found that the FCF had violated the applicable rules by fielding the Player and declared the match of 7 September 2013 as lost by Cape Verde 3-0. Unhappy with such decision, the FCF appealed to the FIFA AC, which ultimately dismissed the appeal.
On 11 October 2013, the FCF filed a statement of appeal at the CAS, challenging the FIFA AC decision and requesting that it be set aside. The case was referred to a Panel of CAS Arbitrators (Prof. Luigi Fumagalli (Italy), President; Mr Rui Botica Santos (Portugal) and Mr José Juan Pintó (Spain) who heard the parties, their witnesses, and their legal representatives at a hearing held in Lausanne on 14 January 2014.
The Panel found the FCF's argument that the Player was eligible to play in the match against Tunisia unfounded and noted that the rules of the FIFA Disciplinary Code applicable to this arbitration were quite clear. The Panel further underlined that the FCF had received a list from FIFA which detailed all the matches in which the Player was to serve his suspension. Accordingly, the Panel dismissed the appeal and confirmed in full the FIFA AC decision of 23 September 2013 meaning that the FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Cape Verde and Tunisia is declared lost by Cape Verde 3-0.