Adrian Mutu v Chelsea
Facts of the Case
Adrian Mutu is known for his versatility and extraordinary talent in the field of football. On the basis of Mutu’s ability, he was transferred from Italian Club AC Parma to Chelsea in August 2003 (Court of Arbitration for Sports Online, 2008). Chelsea and Adrian Mutu entered into a five-year contract, whereby the latter would play under the former (Court of Arbitration for Sports Online, 2008). A drug test for players was initiated on October 2004 by the Football Association Limited (FA). A few weeks after, Adrian Mutu was found positive of cocaine. On his interview, Mutu admitted using cocaine; and as a result, the contract was terminated by Chelsea and a ban of seven months from playing soccer was imposed by FA’s Disciplinary Commission (Court of Arbitration for Sports Online, 2008). However, the ban was extended for the purpose of obtaining global attention.
As a response, Mutu appealed the termination of the employment contract to the Football Association Premier League Limited (FAPL) (Court of Arbitration for Sports Online, 2008). Pending the appeal, Chelsea filed a claim for compensation against Mutu. As ordered by the panel, the parties made a joint letter containing their agreement to refer the “triggering element of the dispute to the Football Association Premier League Appeals Committee (FAPLAC) (Court of Arbitration for Sports Online, 2008). The issue of the dispute is whether Mutu acted in breach of the employment contract with or without just cause or sporting just cause (Court of Arbitration for Sports Online, 2008). On April 2005, FAPLAC handed down its decision declaring Mutu to have breached the contract entered into between him and Chelsea.
Before the decision was handed down by FAPLAC, Chelsea submitted a contractual claim to FIFA as a result of the breach of contract and determination as to the kind of sanction or penalty that should be imposed upon Mutu (Court of Arbitration for Sports Online, 2008). Thereafter, Chelsea filed for award of compensation before FIFA and reiterated that Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) have jurisdiction to hear and decide its case (Court of Arbitration for Sports Online, 2008). However, on October 2006, DRC dismissed the case of Chelsea for want of jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, Mutu appealed to the decision of the FAPLAC finding him of breach of contract before the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) (Court of Arbitration for Sports Online, 2008). However, CAS dismissed his appeal. On the other hand, Chelsea appealed to CAS reiterating that DRC holds the jurisdiction to hear the claim of compensation case and to determine and impose the appropriate sanctions against Mutu (Court of Arbitration for Sports Online, 2008). Chelsea raised Article 21 to 22 and 42(1)(b) of the 2001 FIFA Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players (Court of Arbitration for Sports Online, 2008). Article 42(1)(b) of the 2001 FIFA Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players states that FAPLAC has the jurisdiction to determine disputes with “triggering elements” (Court of Arbitration for Sports Online, 2008). Mutu, on his part, responded by reiterating that he is not covered by CAS’ jurisdiction and that the appeal is inadmissible. Mutu contended that the law is applicable only when the player undermines the stability of his contract (Court of Arbitration for Sports Online, 2008). In his case, Mutu reiterated that it was Chelsea who terminated the contract; hence his breach of contract is not covered by Article 20 to 21 as argued by Chelsea.
After due deliberation of the case, CAS concluded that DRC has jurisdiction over the case. In resolving the argument, CAS reasoned out that the dispute came about as a violation of a contract which is within the power of DRC to decide. Moreover, Mutu’s contention is invalid because the regulation that covers the use of cocaine was within the scope of unilateral breach of contract without any justifiable cause (Court of Arbitration for Sports Online, 2008). Hence, the case was brought before FIFA DRC for further resolution of the case.
With regard to deliberation of the claim for compensation, the FIFA DRC finally handed down its decision on early 2008 imposing a fine of UEU 17, 173, 990 as compensation to Chelsea (International Herald Tribune, 2008). However, Mutu filed an appeal with CAS claiming for the annulment of the DRC decision and reiterated that no compensation is due based on Article 63 of FIFA Statutes (Court of Arbitration for Sports Online, 2008). At present, the CAS has not yet reached its decision on the case.
As for Mutu, who is currently playing under Fiorentina, insisted his unwillingness to pay the fine imposed upon him by FIFA (Pedroncelli, 2008). He further reiterated his rights while claiming support from his co-players and other organizations.
Impact of the case
The case of Mutu has spurred different opinions and reactions. Most specifically, the fine was considered as the highest fine ever imposed upon a player. Chelsea was delighted by the decision and proclaimed its importance in the football world. In addition, Chelsea stated that the decision did not only bring monetary award but also left a lesson that drugs have damaging effect to players (Scott, 2008). On the contrary, Mutu’s lawyer emphasized that the decision is not yet final as they are still hoping for the resolution of the case in the civil court. On the part of Mutu, he had shown that the decision has no effect on him and on his performance. Notably, despite the decision, Mutu still continued to play under Fiorentina. Besides, the Romanian Football Federation has not yet initiated step to disbar Mutu from playing on the coming European Championship.
Additionally, some critics noticed the ruling of the CAS referring back the case to FIFA and recognizing the jurisdiction of the case. According to some critics, CAS has overturned its decision before, which restricted FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber to have jurisdiction in adjudicating disputes arising from contractual matter between a club and a player (Danton, 2008).
In addition, critics found the fine to be a large sum which cannot be possibly paid by any player based on today’s compensation of a football player. Significantly, the appeal for the nullification of the fine was supported by the worldwide representative organization for professional football players (FIFPro) on three specific grounds (IUSport, 2008). First, Juventus took a risk when it signed with Mutu a transfer free during the latter’s suspension (IUSport, 2008). Second, the fine was discriminatory because Mutu was playing under an English passport when the violation was committed. Fine for damages as a result of dismissal was not allowed by FA Premier League rules (IUSport, 2008). Finally, the decision to pay based on transfer amount is extremely strange because Mutu had no control at all on the fee (IUSport, 2008).
In the world of sports, there are also several known players who had been fined and suspended for drug use. The known goalkeeper, Mark Bosnich, was suspended by the FA and his 40,000 pounds contract with Chelsea was terminated (Ziegler, 2002). As part of his penalty, Bosnich was suspended to play until his case was decided. On the part of Bosnich, he reiterated that he never took drugs. Incidentally, drug use has also been the factor of Diego Armando Maradona, a soccer player (Williams, 2004). After being positive for ephedrine, Maradona was suspended for 15 months and was fined an amount of 10,000 pounds (Williams, 2004).
Drug Testing policy in US
In the world of sports, news related to drug abuse and drug use has been damaging the reputation of the field. Some players take in recreational drugs in order to maintain their speed and agility. In order to maintain the sports as drug- free, players have been subjected to drug tests. Significantly, US players who are positive of drugs are given the chance to voluntarily surrender themselves for treatment without fear of being subjected to disciplinary action. In addition, the penalty is lenient. In deciding drug abuse related cases, the National Football League made it illegal for any player to use, posses, sell, purchase, or participate in the distribution of drugs (Quirk, 1999). If a player is found to have violated the rule for the first time, the player is placed under medical evaluation and on treatment program (Quirk, 1999). A violation for the second time would result to the removal of the player from the roster for six games and treatment (Quirk, 1999). On the third time, a one year suspension is imposed but the player may ask for his reinstatement after that year (Quirk, 1999). Notably a disciplinary action may be imposed when the player refuses to submit himself to a reasonable test.
The policy in United States being practiced by the players may be considered lenient as with the policy adopted by the FIFA. From the case of Mutu, his first offence has been subjected immediately to suspension and a fine of a considerable amount. As compared with other violators, the FIFA only granted suspension and a minimal fine. But, in the case of Mutu, the fine is considerably a big amount which is more than the contract price he signed with Chelsea. With this kind of inequality and partiality of fines, the FIFA should include in its rule a ceiling or a particular rate of fine which should be imposed to any violator of a crime. Moreover, the severity of the violation should be weighed and be used as a basis for penalty to be imposed. In the case of Mutu, he has admitted using cocaine, although it was his very first violation. His further revelation was influenced by his belief that the penalty be mitigated. However, Mutu was gravely penalized for his violation without considering the circumstances which may mitigate his penalties.
The case of Mutu also left a considerable impact in the field of sports. Notably, some of the known football players have ended into a pathetic fate due to drug use cases. On one hand, the sincerity of Chelsea in firmly prohibiting drug use in sports is commendable. Chelsea may be perceived as a model of drug abuse intolerance. On the other hand, many fans may conclude that Mutu’s source of extraordinary power in the field of football is drugs. They would infer that he has been performing well through the use of drug and not because of his own skill or capability. On the part of other players, Mutu can serve as a model to discourage other players from using drugs. Notably, the case of Mutu, particularly on the matter of fine can be perceived to have been influenced by politics and manipulation. This angle may be possible because of the price at stake. The loss of Mutu may be considered as a loss to Chelsea. But the fact that termination came primarily from the club, it shows that the determination of the club was to take Mutu out of their group. Hence, the fruit for termination should be shouldered alone by the club because Mutu already served his punishment, which is suspension.
Additionally, it can be deduced that the penalty is arbitrary. A $20 million fine is definitely a huge amount and a burden on the part of Mutu and even to any player. It is arbitrary because the computation not reasonable as it exceeded the actual price of the contract. In addition, Mutu have not totally enjoyed the consideration of the contract because it was terminated after a few months. The damage to the club that may have been caused by Mutu’s violation is not grave enough to justify such kind of monetary penalty. Hence, justice may have not been served well.
In sports, cases of drug use have been witnessed several times. Many players who have earned their reputation have destroyed their career because of drug use. Drugs, indeed, have no good effect on players and on anyone else. The penalty, however, have become graver today. The monetary fine of Mutu is considerably big enough that could bankrupt him and ruin his career as compared to the fines imposed upon previous players with the same case. Interestingly, the strength that Mutu is showing in the football field proves that he is not affected by the decision and is still optimistic of the outcome of his appeal. On the other hand, the decision of the DRC has created a divided public opinion. While some support the club for its decision to curb drugs, others sympathize and support the battle of Mutu in relation to the imposition of the high monetary fine. However, despite public opinion and reasons that each side has, justice will be determined by CAS who has the right to decide the appeal of Mutu.
Court of Arbitration for Sport. (2008). Adrian Mutu files appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Retrieved November 5, 2008, from
Court of Arbitration for Sports Online. (2008). CAS 2006/A/1192 Chelsea Football Club Limited v/ Adrian Mutu. Retrieved November 5, 2008, from http://126.96.36.199/search?q=cache:MAnTuJwVSNcJ:idispute.ru/uploads/documents/Case%2520Law/Sports/Chelsea_Adrian%2520Mutu.pdf+CAS+2006/A/1192+Chelsea+Football+Club+Limited+v/+Adrian+Mutu&hl=tl&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=ph&client=firefox-a.
Danton, P. (15 August 2008). Adrian Mutu. Istadia.com. Retrieved November 5, 2008, from http://www.istadia.com/forumread.php?tid=237
IUSport. (2008). DRC’s decision on Adrian Mutu. Retrieved November 5, 2008, from http://www.iusport.co.uk/php/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=38&Itemid=32.
Pedroncelli, P. (12 October 2008). Mutu Unwilling To Pay FIFA Fine. Goal.com. Retrieved November 5, 2008, from http://www.goal.com/en/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=908846.
Quirk, C. E. (1999). Sports and the Law: Major Legal Cases. London: Taylor & Francis.
Scott, M. (15 August 2008). Mutu ordered to pay Chelsea £13.8m in compensation. The Guardian. Retrieved November 5, 2008, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2008/aug/15/chelsea.premierleague1
International Herald Tribune. (6 June 2008). Romania striker Adrian Mutu ordered to pay €12 million to Chelsea for cocaine use. Retrieved November 5, 2008, from http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/06/06/sports/EU-SPT-SOC-Euro-2008-Romania-Mutu-Fined.php.
Williams, R. (20 April 2004). Falling Down. The Guardian. Retrieved November 5, 2008, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2004/apr/20/sport.argentina
Ziegler, Martyn. (28 December 2002). Bosnich is suspended as FA issues drug charges. The Independent. Retrieved November 5, 2008, from http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/bosnich-is-suspended-as-fa-issues-drug-charges-612202.html.
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