FIFA hands Punjab FC 3-window transfer ban for failing to honour player contract

Punjab FC, formerly known as Minerva Punjab FC, have been handed a three-window transfer ban by FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) for failing to pay the dues of North Macedonian footballer Hristijan Denkovski. The fiasco took place in August last year when Ranjit Bajaj was still an active decision-maker at the club and the ban was handed on Tuesday.

The ban on signing any player, nationally or internationally, is from the upcoming summer transfer window. The ban will be lifted once the payment is made and the proof of payment is sent to FIFA.

As per the mail to Punjab FC – also marked to former owner Bajaj – and All India Football Federation (AIFF) dated June 30, FIFA’s head of players’ status Erika Montemor Ferreira said that a judgment was passed in favour of Denkovski on February 13 and the club was instructed by FIFA’s DRC to pay the compensation amount of $18,000 to the player within 45 days. The mail is in possession of IANS.

Punjab FC failed to honour the obligation within March 31, 2020 and as a result, the transfer ban was imposed by the DRC and now the club has been instructed to clear the player’s dues at the earliest.

As per the contract, Denkovski was supposed to earn $2000 per month and the final settlement amount was decided at $18,000 with a five per cent interest per annum on the amount as of August 29, 2019.

Denkovski had put pen to paper on a one-year deal with then Minerva Punjab on July 5, 2019. The contract was from September 1, 2019, until May 31, 2020.

Despite the footballer submitting his proof of no Third Party Ownership (TPO) to the club on July 30, then Minerva Punjab informed Denkovski on August 6 that the contract had been terminated and declared null and void due to their change in ownership.

In the same mail, the club also said they had requested for TPO documents from Denkovski long time ago and he was supposed to provide that within two days.

On August 10, the club had sent ‘No Dues Certificate’ and ‘Mutual Settlement Agreement’ to the player, thus unilaterally terminating the contract.

Denkovski tried to negotiate further but he was told he had delayed in submitting the proof of no TPO document and hence the decision was taken by the outfit.

Denkovski dialled FIFA on August 29, saying the club terminated the contract without just cause and that it has to pay compensation for breach of the same.

The DRC judge acknowledged that a valid contract of employment was signed between the two parties and that Denkovski had sent the proof of no TPO documents within the time frame.