FIFA wins at CAS in latest ruling of lengthy, multi-nation legal battle with soccer player agents

FIFA wins at CAS in latest ruling of lengthy, multi-nation legal battle with soccer player agents
Elite agencies have earned tens of millions of dollars from transfers for players like Erling Haaland (pictured) and Paul Pogba, and FIFA has said agents earned $622 million from international cross-border transfer deals in 2022. (File/AFP)
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Updated 25 July 2023
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FIFA wins at CAS in latest ruling of lengthy, multi-nation legal battle with soccer player agents

FIFA wins at CAS in latest ruling of lengthy, multi-nation legal battle with soccer player agents
  • FIFA said the ruling “fully confirms the legality, validity and proportionality of the FIFA Football Agent Regulations”
  • PROFAA said it was “extremely disappointed” by the CAS ruling and the effect it would have on thousands of agents’ livelihood

GENEVA: FIFA won the latest ruling Monday of an international, multi-case fight by soccer player agents to block rules that would regulate their industry and cap their fees.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said it “dismissed in their entirety” arguments put forth by the Zurich-based Professional Football Agents Association (PROFAA), which brought the case.

FIFA said the ruling “fully confirms the legality, validity and proportionality of the FIFA Football Agent Regulations.”

However, it was unclear how the Swiss-based sports court’s verdict will weigh on national-level cases in process brought by agents in different countries, including Switzerland, plus a complaint filed with the European Commission in Brussels.

FIFA approved the agent rules last year that are due to take effect on Oct. 1 after thousands of agents worldwide have had the chance to take a $600 examination in either April or September organized by national soccer federations.

The most controversial aspect of the rules limit an agent’s earnings at 10 percent of a transfer fee when they act for the selling club.

Elite agencies have earned tens of millions of dollars from transfers for players like Erling Haaland and Paul Pogba, and FIFA has said agents earned $622 million from international cross-border transfer deals in 2022.

FIFA also wants to limit agents to taking 3 percent of a player’s salary when those earnings are more than $200,000 per year, or 5 percent when the player earns up to $200,000. Those limits would be 6 percent and 10 percent, respectively, when the agent acted for both the player and the club signing them.

FIFA also wants to prohibit player agents from representing both the buying and selling clubs in a transfer.

PROFAA said it was “extremely disappointed” by the CAS ruling and the effect it would have on thousands of agents’ livelihood.

The group “will continue to support any and all litigation against these regulations, specifically the introduction of a commission cap,” its president Paddy Dominguez said in a statement. Dominguez is a member of a FIFA-appointed working group announced in February to consult with the agent industry.

That FIFA group does not include some of the industry’s highest profile agencies which have said over several years they were not properly consulted about shaping the rules.

FIFA also wants agent fees to be paid through the soccer body’s Paris-based financial clearing house, which aims to bring more transparency to a global transfer market that has traditionally been murky.

In the CAS hearing, the agent group’s argument about privacy and data protection was among those dismissed in a series of “interim conclusions.”

FIFA also persuaded the CAS judges that the rules do not contravene European Union laws on competition and free movement and that it was not a cartel under Swiss competition law. The court also agreed the FIFA rules are not incompatible with laws in France and Italy and nor do they contravene the Major League Soccer collective bargaining agreement.

“The award confirms FIFA’s position that the (agent rules) are a reasonable and proportionate regulatory measure that help to resolve systemic failures in the player transfer system,” soccer’s governing body said in a statement.


Brian Harman starts his British Open title defense by returning the claret jug

Brian Harman starts his British Open title defense by returning the claret jug
Updated 13 sec ago
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Brian Harman starts his British Open title defense by returning the claret jug

Brian Harman starts his British Open title defense by returning the claret jug
  • The homecoming of the claret jug was an unofficial way to launch the start of the final men’s major of the year
  • After handing off the jug, Harman headed out to see Royal Troon for the first time

TROON, Scotland: Of all the recent traditions in the Royal & Ancient game, what Brian Harman took part in on Monday afternoon might be the least enjoyable.

Returning the claret jug.

The formal handover of the British Open trophy required a little pomp. Harman was in the back seat of an SUV. The destination was not much longer than the 40-foot birdie putt he made last year on the 14th hole on his way to winning the Open. But he had to wait for the film crew to be set, for the traffic on the road to clear.

“It’s all yours,” Harman told Martin Slumbers, the R&A CEO who took back golf’s oldest trophy that apparently has seen its share of the finest wine and bourbon in the year since Harman won at Royal Liverpool.

Harman is a straight shooter — with a rifle, with his mouth and last year with his putter — but a staged moment as this didn’t bother him.

“In my opinion, it’s the coolest trophy in all of sports,” Harman said. “So I think it’s deserving of all of the pageantry that’s involved with it.”

Getting it back by the end of the week is the real challenge.

The homecoming of the claret jug was an unofficial way to launch the start of the final men’s major of the year. The 152nd Open Championship begins Thursday on the Scottish links along the Firth of Clyde on the Irish Sea.

Royal Troon is renowned for its pot bunkers that are so deep they effectively serve as a one-shot penalty when tee shots find them on the longer holes. The outward holes are shorter with the prevailing wind, the inward holes are longer and into the wind.

“You have to take them on,” Scottie Scheffler said.

Harman had gone six years without a win until putting together a masterpiece last year to lead over the final 51 holes and win by six. He hasn’t won since then, a matter of getting his putter to cooperate. He hopes that’s the case this week.

“You can work and work and work. You just never know when that work is going to pay off,” Harman said. “You never know when the peak is coming. You never know when you’re going to catch a little bit of momentum. So you just have to hope it’s a big week.”

No one has won back to back in the British Open since Padraig Harrington in 2007 (Carnoustie) and 2008 (Royal Birkdale). Go back to 1960 and the list of repeat winners includes only Tiger Woods, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino and Arnold Palmer.

“A little sad to give it back, but I’ll remember everywhere it’s been forever,” Harman said. “I’m happy to give it back, happy to be here. Ready to get going.”

Royal Troon is green and lush, and the rough is particularly thick at the base of turf. This isn’t likely to be a bright and sunny week along the Ayrshire coast, and the links have been busy.

Woods arrived Sunday and went 18 holes, spending much of his time chipping and putting. His son Charlie is not with him, instead at home preparing for the US Junior Amateur next week outside Detroit.

Scheffler got into the competitive spirit, playing alongside Sam Burns as they took some cash from PGA champion Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.

After handing off the jug, Harman headed out to see Royal Troon for the first time. Monday was largely a day of reflection and he was eager to move forward.

But it was a good year, even without another win. He took the jug to Georgia Bulldogs football and Atlanta Braves baseball games. He took it everywhere he could, a reminder of reaching the pinnacle of his sport.

“You never know how it’s going to go, but just the reception from everyone back home was overwhelming, just how excited everyone was,” he said. “I was obviously very excited, but to be able to share that excitement with people that I care about was probably the best.”

Harman was among several players who came across the coast from the Scottish Open last week, a list that included Robert MacIntyre, though his immediately whereabouts could not be confirmed. MacIntire won the Scottish with an eagle-par-birdie finish and promised he would “celebrate hard” as the first Scot to win his national open in 25 years.

He was scheduled for a press conference Monday afternoon. It was rescheduled for Wednesday afternoon. That was a big win for him. Next up is one even bigger.


US men’s basketball team builds big lead then holds off Australia for 98-92 win in Olympics tuneup

US men’s basketball team builds big lead then holds off Australia for 98-92 win in Olympics tuneup
Updated 23 min 38 sec ago
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US men’s basketball team builds big lead then holds off Australia for 98-92 win in Olympics tuneup

US men’s basketball team builds big lead then holds off Australia for 98-92 win in Olympics tuneup
  • The US led by 24 midway through the third quarter, yet saw that lead cut to six with 5:05 left after Australia went on a 39-21 run

There was a lot for the US Olympic team to like on Monday. And a lot not to like.
Anthony Davis scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, Tyrese Haliburton came up with a pair of late 3-pointers that helped stop a freefall by the Americans, and the US beat Australia 98-92 on Monday to improve to 2-0 in its five-game slate of exhibitions leading into the Paris Olympics.
Devin Booker scored 16 for the US, Anthony Edwards scored 14 and three players — LeBron James, Bam Adebayo and Joel Embiid — finished with 10 for the Americans, who are playing host to a pair of exhibitions at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, this week. They’ll play Serbia there on Wednesday.
Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels.
The US led by 24 midway through the third quarter, yet saw that lead cut to six with 5:05 left after Australia went on a 39-21 run. But Haliburton had the next six points on his 3s, pushing the lead back to 92-80.
Australia cut it to four on two separate occasions, but Booker went 4-for-4 from the line in the final 8 seconds to ensure the US would escape.
“Third quarter, we started turning the ball over,” US coach Steve Kerr said. “We gave up a ton of points at the basket. Back cuts, offensive boards and so, the game shifted. It’s a good lesson for us. Better to learn that lesson now than later. And this will be a good tape for us to watch. But I give Australia a ton of credit. They were great. They fought. They were really physical. Took it to us in the last quarter and a half and really made it a game.”
Second unit, again
Just like in the Canada game, the so-called second unit — Haliburton, Jrue Holiday, Adebayo, Davis and Booker — changed the game.
That was the group on the floor when the Americans took a game that was tied at 19-19 with 3:15 left in the first and turned it into a 39-23 lead — a 20-4 run in a span of just over 5 minutes.
Kerr used that group as his starting five to open the second half. But it’s become a clear trend already: when the US goes to its bench and can replace All-Stars with other All-Stars, it’s just going to be a massive problem for opponents who don’t have anywhere near that same level of depth.
“The strength of our team is our depth and we have to utilize our depth,” Kerr said.
It’s been something the Americans have used to their advantage in the past. Dwyane Wade led the gold-medalist 2008 US Olympic team in points, even though he was sixth in minutes on that team and came off the bench in all eight games.
Turnovers
Here’s the big trouble sign right now for the US: turnovers.
FIBA games are shorter than NBA games, 40 minutes instead of 48 minutes. That means there are fewer possessions and makes it even more imperative to not give the ball away.
Which the Americans did. A lot.
After committing 15 turnovers in last week’s exhibition win over Canada, the US had 18 giveaways on Monday and Australia used them to fuel the comeback effort — getting 25 points off turnovers in the second half alone.
“Our turnovers, it’s all about focus and execution,” Davis said.
Injury watch
Kevin Durant missed his second consecutive game because of a calf strain, and with only one practice between games it wouldn’t seem likely that he plays Wednesday against Serbia either.
Derrick White, who arrived in Abu Dhabi over the weekend and got into his first practice with the team on Sunday, also didn’t play. White replaced Kawhi Leonard — who deals with knee issues — on the US roster after the Americans determined last week that it wasn’t in Leonard’s best interest to play this summer.


From Biles to Sha’Carri, Team USA packed with star power heading into Olympic Games

From Biles to Sha’Carri, Team USA packed with star power heading into Olympic Games
Updated 16 July 2024
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From Biles to Sha’Carri, Team USA packed with star power heading into Olympic Games

From Biles to Sha’Carri, Team USA packed with star power heading into Olympic Games
  • It’s a loaded US roster where the women outnumber the men 314 to 278 — at last count — and ages range from 16 to 59
  • That abundance of star power is why Nielsen’s Gracenote forecasts the US hauling in 123 medals

PARIS: From Simone Biles to Sha’Carri Richardson and Diana Taurasi to Katie Ledecky, Team USA will provide some of the biggest star power at the 2024 Olympic Games.

And it will be the women leading the way as the US looks to top the overall medal table for the eighth consecutive Summer Games.

The nearly 600 athletes going to the Paris Olympics include more than 250 returning Olympians and 122 Olympic medalists. Golfers Xander Schauffele and Nelly Korda, along with surfer Carissa Moore, are among the numerous Olympians set to defend their titles in France.

It’s a loaded US roster where the women outnumber the men 314 to 278 — at last count — and ages range from 16 to 59. The most decorated member of Team USA in Paris will be Ledecky, who’s trying to add to her collection of 10 medals (seven golds).

Comebacks and redemption

Biles is back in action after pulling out of multiple gymnastics finals in Tokyo to protect her mental health and safety. There’s Richardson making her Olympic debut after a much-debated absence three years ago because of a positive marijuana test.

The 27-year-old Biles leads a US women’s gymnastics team filled with familiar faces and looking for redemption in Paris. The team settled for silver three years ago behind the Russian athletes competing as the Russian Olympic Committee.

Richardson has become a media sensation for her speed, charisma and perseverance. The 100-meter world champion earned a spot for Tokyo in 2021 but was banned following her positive test for marijuana. It sparked an intense debate about whether she was being unfairly singled out for taking a substance that doesn’t improve performance.

The 24-year-old Richardson, who graces the cover of Vogue magazine, said she was “overwhelmed with the emotions of just joy” after making the team.

Star power on the court

On the court, hoops royalty LeBron James and Taurasi lead their teams. And it’s no surprise that the men’s and women’s basketball squads brimming with talent are heavy favorites to bring home the gold.

James, Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry join forces to lead a US contingent going for a fifth straight Olympic title. A’ja Wilson, Brittney Griner and Taurasi headline a women’s squad that has won seven consecutive Olympic gold medals. Taurasi has been a part of five of them.

Who else is on the Team USA roster?

Decorated swimmers Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel are on deck to shine again in the pool, and majors winners and world No. 1 golfers Scottie Scheffler and Korda take to the links.

“We’re telling these stories — we’re laughing, we’re crying, we’re cheering them on,” said Lyndsay Signor, senior vice president of consumer engagement at NBC Sports. “So that really warrants both the combination of the athletes themselves and the celebrities we’ve partnered with.”

NBC has been airing promotional Olympic material around the clock. There’s Biles being interviewed by singer SZA. Other athletes featured in spots include Richardson, sprinter Noah Lyles, 400-meter hurdles world-record holder Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, Ledecky and reigning Olympic all-around gymnastics winner Suni Lee.

The US women’s soccer team, led by new coach Emma Hayes, chases after their first Olympic gold since 2012 and Victor Montalvo — “B-Boy Victor” — will be a contender when breaking makes its Olympic debut in Paris. Coco Gauff is among the favorites to bring home a medal on the clay courts at Roland Garros, the site of the French Open.

Medal forecast

That abundance of star power is why Nielsen’s Gracenote forecasts the US hauling in 123 medals. That’s ahead of China (87), Britain (62) and France (56). This could be the eighth straight Summer Games where the Americans have topped the medal table.

“If American athletes win, that drives ratings and endorsements, and makes it attractive for American corporations to invest in the Olympic movement,” said Dr. Yoav Dubinsky, an instructor of sports business from the Lundquist College of Business at the University of Oregon. “All part of the story of American lifestyle. Their successes, and at times failures or adversities, contribute to Brand America.”

Olympic entertainers

NBC brought in Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg to narrate a short film titled, “Land of Stories,” where the Olympics set a scene to tell tales.

Even more stars will participate in the network’s coverage as celebrities Snoop Dogg, Kelly Clarkson, Peyton Manning, Colin Jost, Leslie Jones and Jimmy Fallon make appearances.

Snoop already is trotting out his tracksuits to get in some work. The 52-year-old hip-hop star ran a 200-meter race against Ato Boldon and Wallace Spearmon at the Olympic track trials in Eugene, Oregon, last month.

His time was 34.44 seconds. Usain Bolt’s world record of 19.19 remains safe.

“(Snoop) has really brought a perspective that’s not only fun and interesting,” Signor said, “it’s lovable as well.”


Colombia’s football federation president and son among 27 arrested in chaos at Copa America final

Colombia’s football federation president and son among 27 arrested in chaos at Copa America final
Updated 32 min 29 sec ago
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Colombia’s football federation president and son among 27 arrested in chaos at Copa America final

Colombia’s football federation president and son among 27 arrested in chaos at Copa America final
  • Both men are facing three counts of felony battery on an official after being accused of fighting multiple stadium security guards
  • In a statement released Monday, CONMEBOL said it regrets the scene in which countless fans entered the stadium without tickets and “tarnished” the event

MIAMI GARDENS, Florida: Colombia’s football federation president and his son were among 27 people arrested during the crowd control issues that broke out Sunday at the Copa America final between Argentina and Colombia, police said Monday.

Ramon Jesurun and his son Ramon Jamil Jesurun were detained after the event at Hard Rock Stadium and charged, Miami-Dade police detective Andre Martin told The Associated Press.

Both men are facing three counts of felony battery on an official after being accused of fighting multiple stadium security guards. Arrest records said both men tried to go onto the field through a tunnel where media was gathering after the match. They were stopped by security, and the police report said they “became irate” at the delay. A verbal altercation eventually turned physical with a guard placing an “open palm” on Ramon Jamil Jesurun’s chest to “guide him back” and the younger Jesurun grabbing the guard “around his neck” and pulling him to the ground before throwing “two punches that impacted” the guard, the report said. The two men were placed into custody after midnight.

Colombia’s football federation didn’t immediately respond Monday to a request for comment from the AP.

Ramon Jesurun, 71, has been president of the Colombian football federation since 2015 and is a vice president of CONMEBOL, South American football’s governing body that organizes the Copa America tournament.

Ramon Jesurun, the head of Colombia’s football federation, is shown in this police booking photo after an altercation at the stadium shortly after midnight, according to arrest reports by Miami police, in Miami, Florida, Monday. (Reuters)

In a statement released Monday, the organization said it regrets the scene in which countless fans entered the stadium without tickets and “tarnished” the event. The game was delayed for more than an hour as authorities worked to control the situation, eventually deciding to let some fans in without going through security checkpoints.

“In this situation, CONMEBOL was subject to the decisions made by the Hard Rock Stadium authorities, according to the contractual responsibilities established for security operations,” the organization said. “In addition to the preparations determined in this contract, CONMEBOL recommended to these authorities the procedures proven in events of this magnitude, which were NOT taken into account.”

Hard Rock Stadium — the site of 2026 World Cup matches — said security was a shared responsibility between its stadium officials, the organization, CONCACAF (the governing body that oversees football in North and Central America and the Caribbean) and local police.

“More than double the personnel” used for a typical event were onsite Sunday, a stadium spokesperson said in a news release.

Miami-Dade police said more than 800 law enforcement officers were at the match. In addition to the arrests, 55 people were ejected, they said.

It was a chaotic scene just hours before the scheduled 8 p.m. start of the championship match between the two South American countries: Fans forced their way in and jumped over security railings and ran past police officers and stadium attendants, some appearing hysterical as they searched for the people they arrived with.

There appeared to be significant damage to the venue as a result. Video and images posted to social media showed the shattered side railings of an escalator inside the stadium, with shoes, soda cans, reading glasses and articles of clothing left behind. Security railings at a checkpoint in the southwest entrance to the stadium were bent over as thousands of people, including crying children, pushed against them.

The Hard Rock Stadium release said stadium officials communicated with tournament organizers around 8 p.m. and decided to open the gates to both ticketed and unticketed fans who were thrust against the entrance in fear of stampedes and serious injuries. The gates were then closed with many ticketed fans left outside.

The stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, which is home to the NFL’s Dolphins, will be the site of seven World Cup matches in 2026, including a quarterfinal and third-place match.

FIFA organizes the World Cup and is a different organization from CONMEBOL. FIFA is an international federation that oversees more than 200 affiliated associations under regional bodies like CONMEBOL.

Ramon Jesurun is also a member of the FIFA Council.

FIFA did not immediately respond Monday to the AP’s request for comment on the crowd control issues and how it would prevent similar problems in 2026.

Attorney Steve Adelman, a crowd control expert and vice president of the Event Safety Alliance, said Hard Rock organizers failed to understand that Sunday’s game would bring out passionate fans desperate to see their teams, some willing to force their way inside.

“A match between fans of two rival South American nations is about as passionate as you’re going to get,” he said.

Adelman said organizers should have learned from the 2021 Euro Cup final at London’s Wembley Stadium, where ticketless England fans forced their way inside for their team’s match with Italy. The melee injured 19 police officers and resulted in 53 arrests. In 1989, 97 people were fatally crushed at a major English match when fans forced their way into the stadium.

“Unfortunately, international football matches have been marked by this sort of aggressive supporter behavior,” Adelman said. “This behavior is not desirable, it’s not good, but it is reasonably foreseeable. ... They needed to plan for the crowd they were likely to have, not the crowd they wished they had.”


Egyptian cyclist Shahd Saeed disqualified from Olympics

Egyptian cyclist Shahd Saeed disqualified from Olympics
Updated 15 July 2024
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Egyptian cyclist Shahd Saeed disqualified from Olympics

Egyptian cyclist Shahd Saeed disqualified from Olympics
  • Decision followed a collision with a rival teammate in April

LONDON: Egyptian track cyclist Shahd Saeed has been disqualified from participating in the Paris 2024 Olympics later this month, the BBC reported on Monday.

The decision, taken by the Egyptian Olympic Committee, followed a collision with a rival teammate in April.

Video footage of the incident at the Republic Championship race shows 19-year-old Saeed riding behind teammate Ganna Eliwa before veering into her, resulting in a severe crash.

Eliwa suffered a concussion, a broken right collarbone, and multiple cuts and bruises, according to medical reports.

The incident occurred just 300 meters before the finish line, leaving Eliwa with long-term injuries, including temporary memory loss and an inability to resume competitive cycling.

Saeed consistently maintained that the collision was accidental.

However, Eliwa countered this, stating that Saeed never offered an apology, fueling further speculation about the cause of the crash.

Following an investigation, the Egyptian Cycling Federation suspended Saeed for one year and imposed a fine equivalent to $100 — the maximum penalty under their regulations.

The federation’s decision to register Saeed for the Olympics ignited a wave of public outrage in Egypt. Many social media users urged authorities to reconsider, with some claiming the selection violated the Olympic values of excellence, respect, and friendship.

In a statement issued over the weekend, the EOC emphasized that Saeed’s actions in April were deemed to have violated “the regulations, customs, values, and ethics of sports.”

It continued: “Shahd Saeed is not eligible to participate in any international competition, including the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, due to her one-year suspension until 26 April 2025.”

In a TV interview following the EOC decision, Saeed acknowledged her responsibility for the crash but reiterated that it was “not deliberate.”

She told the talk show: “I wish I had represented Egypt in the Olympics and my efforts over three years had paid off.”

Meanwhile, Eliwa expressed satisfaction with the EOC’s decision, stating: “It was expected. Saeed does not deserve to be in Paris.”