Football

Arsenal Fined by FIFA Over Use of Sell-On Clauses in Transfers

Arsenal FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League
Arsenal have been fined for improper use of sell-on clauses | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

FIFA have fined Arsenal 40,000 Swiss francs (£34,000) after the Gunners were found guilty of using sell-on clauses to influence future transfers.

Sell-on clauses are a normal part of transfer dealings, with a selling club often agreeing to a lower up-front fee on the condition that they are given an agreed percentage of any future transfer fee if the buying club chooses to offload the player.

Chuba Akpom
One of the deals involved PAOK’s Chuba Akpom | Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

As noted by the Associated Press, Arsenal used this tactic in deals to sell Chuba Akpom to Greek club PAOK Thessaloniki and Joel Campbell to Italian side Frosinone Calcio in 2018, but the problem was that Arsenal’s clause would have seen them earn more money if either player was sold to an English side.

Arsenal demanded 40% of the future fee if Akpom was sold to an English team, but just 30% if he was sold elsewhere. Similarly, Frosinone could earn themselves an extra 5% by not selling Campbell back to an English team.

FIFA began investigating the deals back in January and have now found that Arsenal were guilty of using the clauses to influence PAOK and Frosinone’s future business.

Joel Campbell
The other player was Frosinone’s Joel Campbell | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

“The committee considers that, by the mere existence of these clauses, Frosinone and PAOK FC are influenced by Arsenal in employment and transfer-related matters,” FIFA disciplinary committee member Thomas Hollerer wrote in the verdict document.

“The committee considers that the relevant clauses undoubtedly grant Arsenal the ability to influence in employment and transfer-related matters the independence, policies and the performance of PAOK FC and Frosinone’s teams.”

Arsenal argued that the deals had received approval from both the Premier League and English Football Association and insisted that the sell-on clauses would have no impact on PAOK or Frosinone, but FIFA were having none of it. Obviously.

Mikel Arteta
Arsenal tried to dispute the fine | Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images

“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,” Hollerer explained.

Arsenal were also warned that any future infractions of this nature would lead to harsher punishments. Naughty naughty.

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