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Managing Director Christian Keller sees “completely absurd judgment”



Managing Director Christian Keller sees "completely absurd judgment"

After the drastic transfer penalty against 1. FC Köln, managing director Christian Keller expressed his complete incomprehension of the world association’s verdict. “From our point of view, FIFA made a completely absurd judgment without any basis,” said Keller on Thursday at Geißbockheim.

At the association day of the Association of West German Sports Journalists (VWS) in Geißbockheim, Keller added: “It is a draconian punishment that is inappropriate. In addition, the burden of proof is reversed. How are you supposed to prove something that you didn’t do.”

The judgment was “not only a farce in terms of content, but also in terms of the process.” In the Cologne brief on the allegations, “a lot of witnesses were named, including the former president of Ljubljana. And then there was no oral hearing. Three judges withdrew to their little room and made a judgment that couldn’t be more draconian. I have a different understanding of the law.”

The FC manager pointed out that the verdict had already been made on February 1, but the club had only now been informed. Keller was also amazed that the verdict was made in the written procedure without a hearing.

FIFA informed the club of its decision on Wednesday, according to which FC may not sign any players in the next two change periods. The reason is the change of the then 16-year-old Slovenian Jaka Cuber Potocnik, who unilaterally terminated his contract with Olimpija Ljubljana in January 2022 and came to Cologne on a free transfer. The Slovenians accused FC of inciting a breach of contract and complained to FIFA.

The people of Cologne will now appeal to the International Court of Arbitration for Sport CAS and are aiming for a suspension of the sentence until the final decision. For the time being, this is “the most important goal,” says Keller. Then the club could probably still make transfers next summer. The procedure at the CAS will probably take “four to six months”, said Keller: “Fortunately, a procedure is taking place there”.

Another problem facing the Bundesliga club is that, as the accused, he has to prove his innocence: “The judgment does not state that 1. FC Köln instigated the player to breach the contract. The judgment states that we cannot prove the opposite. Something like that would don’t exist in Germany.”