SIC file against 16 soccer teams for violating free competition – Colombian Soccer – Sports

“Good afternoon everyone. I hope these emails are really private and do not come to light (…) I recommend not talking about vetoes or uniting against … This can be legally interpreted as a cartelization against the right to work and so on. I totally agree that we must take some measures (…) “.

What he warned in a private email of August 3, 2018 Carlos Mario Zuluaga Pérez, President of Equity, to his colleagues from other Colombian professional football clubs ended up being rigorously true: the message not only ended up being known but also became one of the tests that the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce in the notorious investigation against Dimayor and 16 clubs on charges of vetting players.

According to the SIC, that investigates alleged illegal practices of the clubs aimed at affecting the free competition regime, “the presidents of professional clubs would have sent communications to their competitors expressly requesting that they will not negotiate sports rights of some players as a sanction, due to the fact that those workers would have terminated or would have been close to terminating a contractual relationship without the employer’s approval “.

Text released by the SIC regarding the president of La Equidad.



(Context: SIC will investigate Dimayor and clubs for alleged labor ‘cartel’)

It is a long-denounced practice in Colombian professional soccer that, however, is only now reaching a formal investigation. On this occasion, the investigating authority, the SIC, has in his possession dozens of emails and WhatsApp chats, corroborated by statements by representatives of the clubs, which seem to show that the practice not only existed but was widespread.

What the record shows is that a “gentlemen’s agreement“-as they mention it in several emails- that ended in the blocking of the footballer until he acted. And something similar happened if the player wanted to unilaterally terminate his contract, a situation in which -says the SIC- there is a right to compensation economic for the team affected by the athlete’s decision, but never a ban on it being carried out under penalty of running the risk of being unemployed.

(Don’t stop reading: Acolfutpro explained the scope of the investigation to Dimayor and 16 clubs)

This is what can be seen, for example, in the communication sent by the B Talento Dorado team, in which its president, Paola Andrea Salazar Olano, reported to the other presidents the case of a player who had terminated his contract claiming just cause for breaches of the employer. “On this basis – says the statement of charges – (Salazar) appealed to the ‘union solidarity’ and the ‘gentlemen’s agreement that exists between the clubs in these situations.” The purpose of these letters was “not to hire the designated players as free players but through the club that sent the communication, which intends to obtain profits from the transfer of their sports rights.”

Golden Talent

Copy of the text drawn up by the SIC.



The investigation revealed a common practice in the environment: as the law establishes that the consecutive non-payment of two months of wages and social security is the cause of dissolution of the player’s employment relationshipSome teams choose to leave the rest of the squad without pay to make payments to certain players on whom they have sales expectations and thus continue billing in the event of a transfer.

(We recommend reading: What is the ‘veto’ of footballers in Colombia?)

“You have players, let’s not talk about good and bad. You have players who are assets and players who are not assets (…),” a club president admitted to the SIC. Those players “who are patrimony” are those who try to pay before the two-month deadline, even at the expense of the salaries of the other players that they do not consider ‘transferable’ or over which they have no rights.

In the file there is an email dated June 23 of last year sent by the former senator Gabriel Camargo, the controversial owner of Tolima, warning his colleagues that a player “had a current contract” until 2023 and asking that they refrain from hiring him.

Regarding that communication, Camargo admitted that “it could be” that “in one or two cases” he had sent emails in that tone: “That was a year that it was stolen from me. A boy who did it and all those things, who had bought it and he was unaware of the contract and left. And over there it has been a very bad thing for him and they did not comply with him and those things. But I sued him and I have him sued, “he said.

The strong man of the Sports Tolima first, he told the SIC that he did not recall having received communications from other teams to proceed in this way against players who had fought with their teams. But in the end he ended up changing the version.

-That I remember, no. Maybe yes. One who did these practices was that of Águilas Doradas, Salazar. That one did those practices of sending and that they did not hire (…) That one did send those letters

“-That I remember, no. Maybe yes. One who did these practices was the one from Águilas Doradas, Salazar. That one did those practices of sending and not hiring (…) That one did send those letters,” said Camargo .

The complaint, filed by the Colombian Association of Professional Soccer Players (Acolfutpro), includes veto messages sent or supported (in response messages) by Talento Dorado, Cúcuta Deportivo, Chicó Fútbol Club, Unión Magdalena, Deportivo Pasto, Envigado, Tolima, Caldas, Deportes Quindío, La Equidad, Atlético Fútbol Club, Fortaleza, Leones and Alianza Petrolera. And the statement of charges is extended to the Dimayor because that entity, says the Super, knew of the illegal practice and not only did it not do anything to prevent it, but it would have served to articulate it.

(Also read: Pékerman: ‘I have to be frank, I’m in love with Colombia’)

The Superintendency considers that there is solid evidence to speak of ‘blacklists’ of players, and points out that the communications continued to circulate at least until last July.

Thus, on July 2 of this year the president of Pasto, Oscar Armando Casabón Rodríguez, reported to the other clubs the case of a player who wanted to unilaterally terminate his contract “without taking into account that they were complying with the contractual obligations or the economic investment that we have made.” Line followed, he asked his colleagues “to refrain from making any type of direct link or serving as an intermediary” for the player.

Sports Pasto

Copy of the text released by the SIC in relation to the president of Deportivo Pasto.



In his version before the SIC, the president of Pasto assured that the player had reconsidered and that they finally reached an agreement. And he denied that there was a veto strategy: “It is something not to prevent the player from working, but rather more respect among the presidents or legal representatives of the clubs. Because it is not fair that X club has invested huge amounts of resources and that due to X or Y circumstances he loses that investment because that player decides to resign (…) We are not used to truncating the future of absolutely no player or anything, but (it is) enforce investments made by a small team as we are doing in this case with this player. “

(You may be interested: Video: Juan Carlos Osorio reacted furious after a traffic accident)

The SIC recalled that El Pasto was denounced in the middle of this year for not paying salaries or social security to its workers for a period of three months. In October, its players even refused to play a league game until the situation was resolved.

From the analysis of the file, the Super considers that there is “common interest of the agents investigated to restrict the labor traffic of the players” and that the ‘motives’ of such conduct would be “the pretense of recovering the investment that they consider to have made in training of the human capital of the players and the interest in obtaining additional income from the temporary or definitive transfer of their sports rights “.

It has been possible to limit the normal exercise of the economic activity of the players through coordinated actions that even on the verge of putting their subsistence income at risk …

And he warns that with these practices “it has been possible to limit the normal exercise of economic activity by soccer players through coordinated actions that even put at risk the subsistence income of athletes and the continuity of their sports careers. “.

“The anticompetitive actions of the clubs are revealed and an abuse of the players is evidenced when they try to retain their sports rights even when they do not fulfill their obligations as employers.

And he adds that “the Dimayor (in the presidency of Jorge Enrique Vélez and in the current one, of Fernando Jaramillo) it would have been used as a vehicle to allow (irregular) agreements and make them known to all its affiliates. Therefore, it is clear that it acted as a market agent. “

(Also read: Urshela reached a salary agreement with the Yankees for 2022)

The party is just starting and those named have already made their defense arguments. In the event of being found responsible, the SIC may impose fines of up to 2,000 minimum monthly wages (almost 2 billion pesos).


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