23 March 2015 – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has reduced the suspension of Fernando Santos from eight matches, to four, of which two are suspended for a probationary period of six months and halved the fine from CHF 20,000 to CHF 10,000.
Coach of the Portuguese national football team, and former coach of the Greek national team, Fernando Santos, filed an appeal at the CAS on 3 October 2014, seeking to overturn the decisions taken by FIFA to suspend him for eight matches and fine him CHF 20,000 for unsporting conduct towards a match official during the 2014 FIFA World Cup match between Costa Rica and Greece on 29 June 2014.
As a preliminary step, he filed a request for a stay of execution of the challenged decision for the duration of the CAS proceedings. On 13 October 2014, the President of the CAS Appeals Arbitration
Division issued an Order granting Mr Santos’ request. Accordingly, Mr Santos was able to perform his coaching duties while the CAS arbitration was in progress.
On 9 January 2015, a hearing was held at the CAS headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland during which the parties, their legal counsel, witnesses and experts were heard by the Panel of CAS arbitrators appointed to decide this matter: Prof. Luigi Fumagalli, Italy (President), Mr José Juan Pintó, Spain, and Mr Herbert Hübel, Austria.
Mr Santos argued that the decision taken by the FIFA Appeal Committee on 19 September 2014, which confirmed the FIFA Disciplinary Committee taken on 19 August 2014, should be set aside, or that the sanctions imposed should be significantly reduced. FIFA, on the other hand, defended its decisions and the proceedings which led to them.
Having heard the parties at the hearing and considered their written submissions, the Panel confirmed that Mr Santos has held an improper conduct on the occasion of the match, such as protesting against the referee and casting doubts on his impartiality, but that other facts retained by FIFA against Mr Santos were not sufficiently established. As a consequence, the CAS Panel found the original sanctions to be excessive and decided to reduce them by imposing on him a four-match suspension and a fine of CHF 10,000, with two matches suspended for a probationary period of six months.
Accordingly, Mr Santos’ appeal is partially upheld.
As the stay of execution pronounced on 13 October 2014 is lifted with the issuance of the arbitral award, Mr Santos will start to serve his sanction with the next official match.