But it seems that the club’s decision hasn’t gone down well with the foreigners – all of whom still had a year left in their contracts. It is learnt that CCFC’s former Japanese playmaker Katsumi Yusa is threatening to move FIFA if the ‘club doesn’t agree to pay off his dues’. The club’s former Spanish players – Roberto Eslava Suarez, Sandro Rodriguez, Nauzet Santana – might also tread the same path.
The point of contention in Katsumi’s case is that the midfielder wants the club to pay his salary till April. Having returned to his country six days after CCFC’s last I-League match against Neroca FC on March 14, he also wants the club to bear the cost of his airfare. However, the club is only willing to pay him till March’s salary. It’s estimated that Katsumi’s dues amount to $7000 (Rs 5.3 lakh).
Football Players Association of India (FPAI), who is mediating between the club and Katsumi, said it is hoping to arrive at a solution soon so that the matter doesn’t reach FIFA.
“Katsumi wants an amicable solution and doesn’t want to drag this to FIFA. All he wants is April’s salary and return airfare. He also has a fair case. The club had used his image on their social media platforms as promotions in April despite triggering the force majeure clause from March. It meant that he still had a running contract with them for April. Katsumi’s lawyers had written to CCFC, explaining every aspect. Now, we await CCFC’s response. If we don’t get a favourable reply by the end of this week, we will go directly to FIFA,” FPAI general manager Cyrus Confectioner told TOI on Wednesday.
CCFC, though, have a different story to tell. According to CCFC president Rohit Ramesh, the club has reverted to Katsumi saying they will pay the salary till March and is instead awaiting his reply on the matter. “Negotiations are in place and we have been speaking to the player and his lawyers. After receiving his letter, we have reverted saying that we can pay till March. We now await Katsumi’s reply. But we are hopeful that he will understand our situation,” Rohit told TOI.
Incidentally, FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber had ruled a case in Katsumi’s favour a couple of months back over his contract dispute with East Bengal. The Kolkata giants had to shell out Rs 17 lakh to pay off the Japanese midfielder’s dues. “Japan’s football players’ association is quite strong. And Katsumi had already informed them about the potential conflict with CCFC,” Confectioner added.
Spanish players unhappy too: It’s not only Katsumi but the Spanish players too are unhappy with CCFC. It is learnt that they have also shot letters to the club, asking for a payout. “We have followed FIFA guidelines while triggering the force majeure. But we have replied to them politely saying that our hands are tied at the moment. If the situation improves and they don’t sign contracts with other clubs, we might recruit them again,” Rohit said.