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FIFA fine Arsenal for Joel Campbell, Chuba Akpom transfers

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It’s just a slap on the wrist. For now.

Tijuana v Leon - Torneo Apertura 2019 Liga MX Photo by Gonzalo Gonzalez/Jam Media/Getty Images

FIFA have fined Arsenal 40,000 Swiss francs ($42,300) over sell-on clauses contained in the transfer agreements for Chuba Akpom to POAK Thessaloniki and Joel Campbell to Frosinone. FIFA has also warned the Gunners that stiffer punishments will attach to similar subsequent infringements. That warning is ominous because it raises the specter of a transfer ban, but for right now, it’s a slap on the wrist and nothing more.

Sell-on clauses are simple and relatively commonplace — if a player is sold with one in place, the original club gets a portion of the transfer fee. The problem with the clauses in those deals specifically was that the percentage cut was higher for transfers back to British clubs. For Akpom, Arsenal would have gotten 70% of the fee for a sale to a British team and 60% for the sale to any other team. For Campbell, it was 30% of the sale to a British team, 25% to any other.

In its decision, FIFA determined that the difference in percentages enabled Arsenal to influence and interfere with the transfer dealings of another club. The disciplinary committee also faulted Arsenal for failing to disclose the details of the deals in the Transfer Matching System. Wrote disciplinary committee member Thomas Hollerer:

It is evident that in a scenario in which PAOK FC and/or Frosinone receive two similar and/or identical offers for the transfer of the relevant players, one being from a club in the United Kingdom and the other one coming from a club outside the United Kingdom, PAOK FC and Frosinone would be more inclined to accept the offer coming from the club outside the United Kingdom, as it would make the operation most profitable from a purely financial point of view.

Frosinone sold Campbell to Leon in Liga MX (loan to permanent) on July 2nd. Although the terms of the deal weren’t announced, Arsenal should get a portion of that sale price because I don’t think this sanction removes the clause from the agreement between Arsenal and Frosinone, especially because the transfer in question doesn’t involve a British team.

It’s mildly amusing to me that the Arsenal front office, regardless of who is at the helm or was in charge of these deals, continues to be somewhat-inept. It’s also sad.