Soccer - Marseille receive one-year transfer ban over Gueye dispute - Watford

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Ligue 1 - Stade Rennes v Olympique de Marseille - Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims, France - December 16, 2020 Olympique de Marseille's Pape Gueye scores their first goal REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

(Reuters) - Ligue 1 club Olympique Marseille have been handed a one-year transfer ban by FIFA for their involvement in a long-running transfer dispute over Senegal international Pape Gueye with Watford, the Premier League club said on Monday.

Gueye had been in the Senegal line-up to take on Guinea in an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group B match in Bafoussam on Friday, but was taken off the team sheet after being suspended by FIFA.

According to French sports daily L'Equipe, Gueye's suspension was the latest twist in a saga that started two years ago when the French-born midfielder signed a pre-contract at Watford ahead of the end of his deal at Ligue 2 club Le Havre.

The newspaper said that soon afterwards Gueye changed his agent, who recommended he pull out of the deal. Instead, he signed a four-year contract at Marseille in July 2020.

It said Watford filed a complaint to FIFA's Dispute Resolution Chamber, last February.

"Watford FC confirms a FIFA Football Tribunal has considered the claim lodged against the player Pape Alassane Gueye and the French club Olympique de Marseille, ruling as follows," Watford said in a statement

"Pape Alassane Gueye and Olympique de Marseille shall jointly and severally pay Watford FC compensation for breach of contract without just cause.

"Olympique de Marseille shall be banned from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, for the next two entire and consecutive registration periods."

Watford added that Gueye was restricted from competing in official matches for four months, pending a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Marseille took note of FIFA's ruling and said they intend to appeal the punishment to CAS.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru)

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