The World Football Association has imposed a transfer ban on 1. FC Köln. As FIFA confirmed on Wednesday evening, the Bundesliga club may not sign any players in the next two transfer periods of the 2023/24 season. The background to the harsh penalty is the circumstances surrounding the signing of U19 striker Jaka Cuber Potocnik.
The Cologne team signed the 17-year-old in January 2022, triggering a dispute with his former club Olimpija Ljubljana. Although it was not a transfer for the Cologne professional team, the ban should still affect the whole club, as the image first reported. The Fifa Dispute Resolution Chamber found the Cologne-based company guilty of unjustified breach of contract and incitement to breach of contract. Cologne also have to pay 54,000 euros to Ljubljana. Potocnik, who was last used in the Cologne youth team, will be banned for four months with immediate effect.
The player had prematurely terminated his U17 contract in Ljubljana on January 30, 2022, a day later he is said to have signed in Cologne, FC signed him on a free transfer. The Cologne team announced on Wednesday evening that Potocnik had terminated his contract due to “numerous breaches of contract by the club”. The Slovenians claimed that Cologne had instigated the then only 16-year-old Potocnik to switch – and defended themselves at Fifa.
Cologne announces that it will appeal to the International Sports Court
Originally, the club wanted a transfer fee of 2.5 million euros and around 70,000 euros in damages. An amicable solution between the two clubs had apparently not come about. In a statement on Wednesday, the Cologne team again denied that they incited the player to breach the contract.
Since the case for Fifa has already been closed, Cologne has to appeal the verdict before the International Sports Court Cas. The club announced this course on Wednesday evening. It will also request that all penalties be temporarily suspended pending the final verdict.
In similar cases of rule violations in the transfer of minors, big clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City have been punished by Fifa in the past. In most cases, transfer bans were shortened, postponed or lifted by the Cas.