A alex klotz he was not at all surprised by the setback suffered by Chile before the FIFA Disciplinary Committee in the Byron Castillo case. The sports law specialist, back home after four years linked to the legal department of world football’s governing body, is clear enough to predict little chance of success before the court of appeal. “I have always waited for this decision. For me, it was not a surprise. We still have to wait for the fundamentals, but it was an expected decision, which I think was taken in accordance with FIFA regulations on these matters.
Legally, at FIFA level, for a player to be eligible to play for a certain country, the only valid document is the passport issued by that country, according to the Constitution and laws of that country. In this case, the player has a passport validly issued by Ecuador. Then, regarding the birth certificate, I understand the discussion, but it seems to me that for the purposes of the FIFA regulations, it is irrelevant. FIFA will never address these issues.
Do you agree with the criticism of the complaint approach?
I don’t want to talk about mistakes or successes, but it seems to me that it was a claim that had little hope of prospering.
Is it a dogma for FIFA not to contradict the internal decisions of countries?
I would not speak of a dogma. On the issue of player eligibility, the FIFA regulations are very clear. And I explain it in context: suppose Castillo was born in Colombia. Later, you may have been nationalized Ecuadorian. This has happened in the case of many footballers. In these cases, the footballer can have two passports and FIFA accepts this. The only thing he asks is that if a player goes national, he must have lived in the new country for five years. This is the main difference, for example, with the case of Nelson Cabrera. Cabrera was Paraguayan, he becomes Bolivian, but he does not live in Bolivia for five years to play for this country. This is why FIFA sanctioned Bolivia. This case was different.
Did Carlezzo use the wrong strategy?
I would expect FIFA basics. And, also, see the position of Equator. I would not like to talk about strategic errors. I doubt that I brought this lawsuit; From the beginning, it seemed to me that I had few options to prosper, to succeed.
And from the media point of view, does Carlezzo appear a few hours before the resolution is known, does he influence, does he annoy? How is it taken?
The conference seemed strange to me, but that’s my opinion. I assure you that neither FIFA nor the members of the appeal committee are looking into this. FIFA is failing according to the law and not according to the arguments that a certain lawyer presented to the media a few days before the decision was made.
Did you think it was a good decision?
I don’t like to comment on a colleague’s conduct. Everyone is free to do what they see fit. It’s more the fuss that occurs at the media level, but at the level of legal support, of claims, it doesn’t carry much weight. It seemed strange to me. I wouldn’t have.
How does the FIFA Appeals Chamber work?
As I mentioned, I worked for four years at FIFA, in the legal department, in different positions, and last year I was in charge of the secretariat of the appeal committee. I didn’t include it. The members are independent members, they are not employees. And the Chamber has very high-level members. Without going any further, one of its members is the former adviser to Barack Obama, during his stay at the White House. They are called to meetings to settle a certain number of controversies. Meetings of the Court of Appeal are less sporadic than those of the Disciplinary Commission, as the latter has a much higher number of cases. A very small number of cases reach the Court of Appeal. Not all FIFA decisions may be appealed. In addition, there is a cost to appeal, one thousand francs, or one thousand dollars. It should have about 15 members.
According to what criteria are they selected?
Members are proposed by the federations and are ratified by the FIFA Congress every four years. At the Court of Appeal, these are lawyers specializing in sports law or advisers to federations.
How long does the procedure and judgment take?
FIFA’s decision was communicated on the 10th. They must give the reasons for the decision. If everything goes quickly, they should be before the end of the month. From there, Chile would have eight days to appeal. The Court of Appeal has to meet, make a decision, communicate the judgment and after that, surely, the reasons for the decision will be asked again and this also takes some time. Decision we could have in July and the fundamentals in August.
How often does the Court of Appeal overturn first instance decisions?
It’s not very common. Arrived. There are calls that are partially accepted. In this case, I dare say that it is highly unlikely, if not impossible, that the Court of Appeal will reverse the decision rendered by the Disciplinary Committee.
If there are failures that are cancelled, what are the reasons given?
It depends on each case, its circumstances, whether or not new files are presented. I am not in a position to give my opinion, because we have to wait for the reasons for the decision and whether Chile, in the long term, presents new precedents.
Chile has warned that it will go to CAS. How much do the opinions of the Chamber weigh there?
There is not necessarily unidirectionality. The CAS is the highest court in sports matters, it is totally independent from FIFA and there are very qualified lawyers. Therefore, he could not give a proportion of cases accepted or rejected. I have the feeling that the CAS will confirm the decision taken by FIFA.
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