General Director of Shakhtar Donetsk Believes FIFA is Causing Ukrainian Clubs to Go Bankrupt

According to the Shakhtar Donetsk CEO Sergei Palkin, FIFA’s suspension of the contracts with foreign players and team coaches is killing the game in Ukraine.

Football’s world governing body took the step after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, when foreign players got the chance to be transferred to clubs in other countries.

Shakhtar announced that the decision resulted in a loss of 40 million euros ($42.9 million) in income from transfer fees for players, which reduced the club’s revenues.

Shakhtar, who have won 13 domestic competitions in a row, filed an appeal against the decision, questioning its legality, but it was rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last month.

The club will now appeal to the European Commission (EC) and the Swiss Federal Supreme Court. Shakhtar demands compensation for sustained damages and loss in the amount of 50 million euros.

«We believe that we are 100 per cent right in this case,» Sergei Palkin, the CEO of Shakhtar Donetsk said. «When FIFA issued Annex 7 [‘temporary rules addressing the exceptional situation deriving from the war in Ukraine’], they adopted this without any assessment of the situation and without consulting with the main affected parties.»

Palkin added that Shakhtar cannot pay unpaid agency or playing fees because the world’s top stars have not been signed and the club cannot sell players at a profit.

«FIFA has made it possible for all our foreign players to leave the club and has not protected us against the debt associated with the loss of all of these players» he continued. «It’s a ridiculous situation that’s driving the Ukrainian clubs to bankruptcy.»

Palkin called on FIFA to set up a compensation fund for Ukrainian clubs affected by the suspension to help keep the domestic game alive.

If FIFA prolongs its Annex 7 for the next season, then, according to Palkin’s estimates, Shakhtar’s losses will amount to 70 million euros. He also criticized the actions of the organization since the beginning of the war, saying that it interferes unnecessarily in Ukrainian football. He added that the club is ready to let the players out of the country, but keep their contracts.

Palkin said: «FIFA doesn’t care about Ukrainian football. They don’t support us, they’re just trying to show to somebody, I don’t know who, that they are number one and nobody can influence them and nobody can control them.

FIFA positions themselves above the law. We need to change this. Not just for Shakhtar Donetsk, not just for the Ukrainian clubs. We need to change this for all clubs in the world.»

If this continues, Palkin said, it will be difficult for Shakhtar to survive, adding that the decisions of the EC and the Swiss Federal Supreme Court will be critical for the future of the club.

The final decision on the appeal to Shakhtar has not yet been made, but Palkin said that the club is doing everything in its power. He also stated that Shakhtar would like to speak openly with FIFA in order to find a solution, but the management is not interested in this.

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