FIFPRO is aware that a number of Ukrainian players have received life bans from professional football by the Disciplinary and Ethics Committee (‘DEC’) of the Football Federation of Armenia. We are concerned that players are being sanctioned on the basis of reports of so called sports data providers, without any substantial evidence.
We continue to strongly support football’s fight against match-fixing, and we are making available a whistleblower app for players to safely report illegal approaches. However, we cannot accept that national football associations sanction players without due process, on the basis of reports by sports data providers.
In relation to the proceedings in front of the DEC of the Football Federation of Armenia:
- The players were not informed of any procedure in front of the DEC;
- The players were sanctioned without being heard;
- The players had to pay a sum of money to the Football Federation of Armenia to receive the decisions as well as the material on which basis the judgement was made.
- The decision was based only on reports of sports data providers.
To appeal the decision of the DEC to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the players must pay advance costs of CHF 20,000, a sum which has been elevated because the Football Federation of Armenia has refused to pay its share of costs. This advance has been a tremendous obstacle for players to access justice. FIFPRO strongly believes that disciplinary proceedings as well as any appeal should be free of costs.
It is important to note that, in a separate case recently (Igor Labuts v Football Association of Ireland), and following a long and costly appeal, CAS overturned a decision to sanction a player on the basis only of a report supplied by a sports data provider and match footage reviewed by football pundits.