The full timeline of the Leao fine saga and what Sporting CP’s latest request means

By Oliver Fisher -

The issue of Rafael Leao’s fine has once again come to the fore after Sporting CP issued a statement on the matter earlier today.

This morning, Sporting CP published an official document announcing that Lille had paid the €16.5m (which later became more than €19m due to interest) for Leao’s fine, specifying however that they will continue in the legal battle to obtain the €45m that was in his release clause at the time.

MilanNews have published some specifics regarding the situation given the confusion that is currently prevalent among the Milan fan base who thought the matter was done and dusted.

It should also be noted that:

➤ The payment of Euro 19,670,443.70 corresponds to the principal amount of Euro 16,500,000.00 plus interest and legal costs.

➤ The sentence of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Lisbon) which sentenced the footballer Rafael Leão to pay Sporting SAD the amount of 16,500,000.00 euros plus interest, as compensation due for termination of the contract without just cause, and on the previously discussed by the Court of Appeal of Lisbon, Supreme Court of Justice and Constitutional Court, is not subject to any other appeal or claim, which is why it has become final and unappealable.

➤ The FIFA ruling which condemns LOSC Lille to pay Sporting SAD, jointly with the player Rafael Leão, the amount of 16,500,000.00 euros plus interest, by way of compensation due for termination of the contract without just cause, was subject of two opposing and joint appeals before the Arbitration Court for Sport (Lausanne), in which, respectively and among others, LOSC Lille requested the revocation of the decision, and Sporting SAD requests the condemnation of LOSC Lille to pay compensation to the minimum amount of EUR 45,292,516.00.

Therefore, it means that Lille paid the amount including interest into Sporting CP’s accounts after the transfer of Leao through ‘unilateral action, without prior agreement’.

The will of the Lusitanian club has always been to obtain the €45m euros, and they tried to do it through every possible avenue.

The latest update on the matter arrived in April of this year, when the decision was awaited from FIFA , in particular from the DRC ( Dispute Resolution Chamber), which had the task of defining the amount to be received before referring the case to the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport – based in Lausanne, Switzerland), the body that will have the final say on the case.

FIFA’s decision arrived and, contrary to what was requested by Sporting, it did not change the cards on the table and the initial €16.5m was deemed fair. The timeline of events is as follows:

➤ In 2018 the Sporting Lisbon training centre was stormed by a group of fans, who entered the facility verbally assaulting employees and players.

➤ On June 14, 2018, Rafael Leão filed a letter of dismissal, claiming just cause. At the same time, the player presented a request for arbitration to the TAD (Portuguese Sport Court), in which he asked for 390,000 euros in compensation, 100,000 of which for having understood that he had been subjected to moral harassment.

➤ In August 2018, Rafael Leao, who was released, signed a contract with Lille.

➤ Sporting CP contested this claim, asking for 45 million euros in compensation and, on 18 March 2020, the Portuguese court sentenced the club to pay Rafael Leão 40,000 euros for moral harassment and, conversely, ruled that the footballer Portuguese would have had to pay 16.5 million euros to the former club, for illegitimate termination of the contract.

➤ This was followed by an appeal by the player to the Constitutional Court, which was rejected, and a complaint to the same Constitutional Court is still pending.

➤ A declaratory action for annulment was then filed with the Lisbon Court of Appeal, which was rejected as it found no ambiguity or contradiction in the TAD’s decision.

➤ In May 2022 Sporting CP began to execute the TAD sentence, proceeding with the claiming of 20% (or 1/5) of Leão’s salary, through the Italian justice system. In May 2022, TAD received €300,000 in salary by this medium.

➤ Since the beginning of this affair, there has been a second trial underway at the CAS and FIFA, the one which in practice allows Sporting to continue to claim the 45 million euros.

➤ This second claim was born on November 16, 2018, when Sporting filed a lawsuit against the FIFA DRC. On 20 February 2020, the Dispute Resolution Chamber refused to analyse the case due to lis pendens, as a case was already pending in the Portuguese TAD.

➤ Consequently, on 6 May 2020, Sporting appealed to the Swiss CAS, reiterating the requests made before the DRC.

➤ On 21 February 2022, the CAS partially accepted Sporting’s requests, establishing that the forward terminated his deal without just cause and that Lille are jointly and severally liable for the payment of the compensation.

➤ Then the CAS referred the case to the FIFA DRC, which was supposed to determine the amount Sporting would be entitled to receive. The DRC, relying on the Portuguese TAD’s decision, argues that Sporting are entitled to €16.5m plus interest.

➤ The decision obviously does not satisfy Sporting, which, as announced in today’s press release, will again appeal to the CAS: it is the last level of judgment and at this point, having already expressed itself previously on the subject, it is very unlikely that the outcome will change.

Meanwhile, Leao renewed with Milan until 30 June 2028, with the Rossoneri management playing a key role in mediating the talks involving Lille.

Tags AC Milan Rafael Leao
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