Sadomba hits back

Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
ZIMBABWE international footballer Edward Sadomba on Thursday won a landmark ruling when he successfully sued his former club Al Ahli Tripoli with the Court of Arbitration for Sport directing the Libyan outfit to pay the player $450 000.

The landmark arbitral award also marked a first major triumph for the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) whom Sadomba approached for help after failing to get any recourse from the Libyans.

Al Ahli will, according to the Arbitral award, also have to pay the costs of the arbitration at an interest of five percent on the $450 000 they owe to Sadomba.

“Given the Appellant’s appeal is upheld, the panel is of the view that the costs of this appeal shall be borne entirely by the respondent in the amount to be communicated to the CAS Court Office.

“An overall appreciation of the matter and legal issues at stake including taking into account the outcome of the proceedings as well as the conduct of the financial resources of the parties, the panel deems it fair and reasonable that the respondent shall pay the Appellant CHF 5 000 as a contribution towards legal costs and other expenses in connection with the present proceedings,” read part of the judgment.

CAS also ordered that:

Decision rendered by the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber on 15 July 2016 is set aside

Club Al Ahli is ordered to pay Edward Takarinda Sadomba $450 000 plus interest rate of 5 percent per annum as of 11 January, 2016 until effective date of payment

Costs of arbitration to be determined and served to the parties by CAS Court Office shall be borne entirely by Club Al Ahli SC

All other motions and prayers for relief are dismissed, read a summary of the ruling.

Al Ahli Tripoli, who were in Harare last month for a Champions League assignment in which they secured a 4-2 victory over CAPS United, had been claiming that they made a cash payment of the $450 000 to Sadomba, but failed to substantiate their claims before the CAS panel.

The crack Libyan outfit, regular campaigners in the Champions League, had earlier been dragged to FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber by Sadomba where the player’s appeal was rejected for “lack of evidence that he did not receive the cash payment in Tunisia’’.

Sadomba, who revealed that he then fasted and prayed for his case, however, refused to give up the fight.

The Swiss-based court, the last court of appeal in all sport-related matters ruled that the North African club would have to pay Sadomba the $450 000.

“I feel so proud that God Jehovah is a God of justice . . . we fasted and prayed when we appealed to CAS for justice to prevail since the FIFA DRC had not ruled in our favour.

“It (the ruling) is a wake up call to me and fellow players because some clubs don’t act professionally so we must all be careful and my advice is that if you are a footballer be a member of FUZ (FifPro) because they are so helpful when you face these challenges.

“We should also surrender our lives to God so that when anyone wants to mess with your career we have a great advocate . . . God,” Sadomba said.

He had entered into a deal worth nearly $600 000 with Al Ahli which included the player’s signing-on fees, bonuses, salaries and allowances.

But the two parties later agreed on a termination of the contract as the club had been rendered inactive on their domestic front due to civil unrest in Libya.

It was during that indaba for the mutual termination of the contract where it was agreed that Al Ahli would pay Sadomba $450 000.

Faced with the challenge of non-payment by the Libyans, Sadomba turned to FUZ for assistance with the union’s president Desmond Maringa arranging legal representation for the player both on the domestic front while Kudakwashe Chisekereni of Zvinavakobvu Law Chambers gave aid working in conjunction with one of FifPpro’s legal counsels Roy Vermeer.

Sadomba had initially come unstuck when FIFA’s DRC dismissed his case.

But with the help of FUZ leader Maringwa and Chisekereni, the player appealed to CAS and on Thursday, the former Dynamos and Al Hilal hitman was celebrating a massive courtroom triumph.

“It is a first major international case that we have handled and won and it gives us confidence as a local body that is internationally recognised.

“There were some quarters who were looking down on us, but we are a member of FifPro that fights for the players’ interests.

“I would like to applaud Duduza (Sadomba) for having confidence in us to deal with his case. We always tell even national team players that they should join FUZ and wherever you will be playing you will get help,” Maringwa said.

Sadomba’s victory at CAS is also set to boost the profile of FUZ, an organisation whose capacity was doubted in some quarters, as they had largely dealt with low key contractual disputes involving some local cubs and players.

But on Thursday all that changed as Daniele Boccucci, Counsel to the CAS, delivered the 17-page judgment to Maringwa, which detailed how Al Ahli had been found in breach of the terms of the mutual termination of the contract they entered into with Sadomba.

Boccucci said a CAS team led by president Fabio Lucida of Italy sitting with arbitrators — Manfred Nan (attorney at law in the Netherlands) and Lucas Anderes had deliberated on the matter after hearing oral submissions from the parties in the dispute.

“Employment contract was terminated by mutual consent (The termination Agreement) pursuant to Article 1 of the Termination Agreement, upon termination of the contract, the club undertook to pay the player the amount of $450 000 although the date of the payment was not specified.

“According to Article 2 of the Termination of Agreement it was also established that no other payable to the player under the Employment Contract was outstanding at the time the termination agreement was signed.

“On an unspecified date the player signed a document named ‘cash payment order’ stating the following:

“It is paid to Mr Edward Sadomba holder of ID number EN813394 an amount of $450 000 only against the terminate of the contract,” CAS said.

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