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FIFA threatens to relegate Genoa over Connection bill

World governing football body, FIFA, has threatened Italy Serie A club, Genoa, with a range of sanctions including relegation due to its supposed violation of article 64 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code over the alleged non-payment of costs ordered by the FIFA Players Status Committee on 21 April 2014.

Photo: St Lucia international Zaine Pierre (right) during a training session in Italy.
Photo: St Lucia international Zaine Pierre (right) during a training session in Italy.

Genoa was ordered to pay Trinidad and Tobago Pro League club DIRECTV W Connection €125,000 (TT$985,600) plus five percent interest per year and legal costs due to its failure to complete payment for 21-year-old St Lucia international Zane Pierre who joined the Italian club in 2012. The costs of legal proceedings were calculated as CHF 8,000 (TT$54,800) to FIFA and CHF 4,000 (TT$27,400) to Connection.

However, the club failed to provide proof of payment to FIFA by the deadline of 18 September 2014.

And, in a letter from FIFA Deputy Secretary to the Disciplinary Committee Gautier Aubert on 3 February 2015, Genoa was warned that failure to immediately pay its bill could mean “disciplinary sanctions (fine, deduction of points, relegation) may be imposed on the club.” The dispatch was sent to Genoa, Connection, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (sic) and the Italian Football Federation.

FIFA vowed to open a fresh investigation into Genoa’s conduct but promised to let the matter lie if the Italian team meets its financial obligations.

Photo: Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi (left) grimaces during a La Liga match while teammate Xavi looks on. Barcelona is serving a FIFA transfer ban at present. (Copyright Ander Gillenea/AFP 2015)
Photo: Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi (left) grimaces during a La Liga match while teammate Xavi looks on.
Barcelona is serving a FIFA transfer ban at present.
(Copyright Ander Gillenea/AFP 2015)

The world governing body has taken firm measures against wayward clubs before with its recent 14-month transfer window ban against Spanish giants, FC Barcelona, being its most famous recent example. Barcelona was ruled to have breached FIFA’s rules against signing international players under the age of 18.

Pierre spent two years with Connection where he played primarily with the youth team and made less than a handful of senior appearances before moving to Genoa at the age of 19. However, once the Italian outfit made the initial down payment for the St Lucian and acquired his international clearance, the club never completed his transfer fee.

At present, Pierre, who reportedly had two major operations since his move to Italy, is on loan with Serie C outfit, SF Aversa Normanna. He has twice appeared on the substitutes’ bench for Genoa since his transfer to Italy but never played for his employer.

Photo: W Connection chairman David John Williams (left) hugs goalkeeper Julani Archibald after the 2015 Pro Bowl Cup final. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: W Connection chairman David John Williams (left) hugs goalkeeper Julani Archibald after the 2015 Pro Bowl Cup final.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Connection, whose most famous export is Cardiff City forward Kenwyne Jones, is due an additional payment if Pierre appears in Serie A for Genoa.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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7 comments

  1. Club probably run by an egomaniac who doesn’t care about his club as much as his own pride.

  2. They stand to lose a lot of money

    • Scotty Ranking

      A lot more than just the owed monies! Deducted points or enforced relegation will have more far-reaching implications for the club (reduced TV revenues, lower attendance’s, lost sponsorships). FIFA doh play with their transfer money!

  3. Scotty Ranking

    Sad. I hope that this gets sorted out and Pierre can achieve to his true potential.
    Concerning the last part about additional payments due to the club based on appearance criteria, I seem to remember a similar situation when Stern John made the jump from Columbus Crew to free-spending Nottingham Forest. Although John was a league-leading goalscorer in the MLS, Forest had little faith in him replicating that level of success for them. So much so, they offhandedly threw in a clause in his contract that would have triggered a significant bonus payment to Crew if he scored 20 goals for Forest over a given time frame. The club happened to run into some serious financial difficulty some time after when John’s tally reached 18. In a bid to not incur the additional expense, John was denied first-team football after that 18th goal and quickly sold to Birmingham City for less than 10% of what Forest had paid Crew for him.
    I have often wondered how much greater Stern could have been had he either stayed in the MLS one more season or had Forest’s financial woes not tripped up his move to English football.

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