Mercato: why OM, sanctioned by Fifa, is in conflict with Watford in the Pape Gueye file

Fifa has sanctioned OM with a recruitment ban in the context of the dispute between the Marseille club and Watford over Pape Gueye. In 2020, the Senegalese midfielder had committed to the Hornets before retracting and joining Marseille.

It’s a long soap opera that has just experienced a new twist. As part of the dispute between them and Watford over the Pape Gueye case, OM have been informed by Fifa of a sanction against them, namely a ban on recruitment. The exact duration of this ban is not yet clear, but it does not concern the current winter transfer window. Marseille does not intend to stop there and will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Pape Gueye, he was suspended for four months on an individual basis, but again his lawyer decided to request the CAS, the highest sports jurisdiction, which could allow the player to compete Senegal’s next match at the African Cup of Nations.

To understand the origin of the dispute between Watford and OM, it is necessary to operate a return to 2020. That year, on 25 April, the Hornets announced the arrival of Pape Gueye for five years, starting the following July 1. They then think they have pulled off a nice coup with a player arriving at the end of his contract in Le Havre, where he was trained.

French international U18 and U19, Pape Gueye has just played around forty matches with the Norman club, including 25 in Ligue 2 during the exercise 2019-2020. He is considered a great prospect and Watford are happy to have toasted some fierce competition. But quickly, the entourage of Pape Gueye expressed doubts about the validity of the contract concluded with the English club, which received a letter of termination in May 2020 . A month later, in a press release sent to L’Equipe, the Senegalese himself announced that he no longer wanted to join Watford after changing his representative.

Watford had turned to Fifa in 2021

“My fault in this story is to have trusted a person who gave me bad advice, he explains. I warn my colleagues about the abuse they could be subjected to regarding contract signatures. (…) Consequently, and considering that the contract has not yet taken effect, I take note of the end of any contractual link with the Watford club.”

As explained at the time RMC Sport, Pape Gueye commits a unilateral breach of contract. In it, he makes it clear that he is drawing a line under Watford due to a dispute with his former advisers. He also believes he signed a document in English that he did not understand and fears being sent on loan to Udinese, another formation belonging to the Pozzo family. After this rupture, several clubs including Angers contact the player and his clan. This is the moment chosen by OM to enter the scene.

The speech of the leaders seduces the player and André Villas-Boas is convincing on the telephone. Everything is going very fast. On July 1 2020, Marseille formalizes the arrival of Pape Gueye for four seasons. Without having paid any transfer fee. Which, obviously, does not please Watford.

In February 2021, the club officially responded by contesting with of Fifa the recruitment of the midfielder by OM. An appeal is lodged with the Dispute Resolution Chamber of the international body, responsible for contractual disputes. OM and Pape Gueye are both targeted. A year later, Marseille is therefore overtaken by this affair, which is undoubtedly far from over.

When an appeal is made, this type of procedure before the CAS can take between three to six months. If the verdict is rendered after July 1, the opening date of the summer transfer window, then OM will not be banned from recruiting this summer. The current Marseille leaders, who were not those in office when Pape Gueye signed, are actively working on the file and believe they have arguments to put forward to defend OM.