Royal AM are optimistic about dodging the Fifa ban bullet because they believe they have strong cases in two matters that got them in trouble with the football governing body.
Shauwn “MaMkhize” Mkhize, a charismatic and outspoken businesswoman from KwaZulu-Natal, owns the team, and Fifa’s ban on player registration has had a significant negative impact on the team’s performance in the DStv Premiership.
Royal AM have had a difficult start to the season due to their inability to beef up the squad with new players. They are at number 14 on the log, one position away from relegation.
The team was handed a player registration ban for owing money to former players Samir Nurkovic and Ricardo Nascimento.
Nurkovic is now with TS Galaxy, while Nascimento is still without a club after he was released with two months left on his contract.
The club cleared the air on Tuesday and unpacked how it finds itself in this precarious situation.
Reads a statement from Royal AM: “At the end of April 2023, two months before the expiry of Mr Nascimento’s contract, Royal AM FC terminated the contract and paid out Mr Nascimento the remainder of the unexpired term of his employment contract — May and June 2023.
“Mr Nascimento referred a contractual dispute to Fifa’s dispute resolution chamber [DRC] for payment of the salary for May and June 2023, payment of the salary for the option period, which Royal AM did not exercise, and a R120 000 bonus.
“On September 28 2023, the Fifa DRC granted Mr Nascimento an award for a payment of R600 000. Royal AM appealed with the Court of Arbitration for Sports [CAS] and requested a motivated decision from Fifa.
“On the 7th of November 2023, Fifa notified [of] its motivated decision, and upon perusal, Royal AM FC established that the award made by the Fifa DRC was [for a] salary for May and June 2023, which Royal AM had already paid to Mr Nascimento.
“All other claims by Mr Nascimento were rejected by the Fifa DRC. In light of this revelation, the CAS appeal was withdrawn.”
Fifa transfer ban
Fifa notified Royal AM of the transfer ban on January 15 2024, for non-compliance with the award that Royal AM had already paid.
“Royal AM legal representatives are in the process of clarifying this issue with both Fifa and Mr Nascimento’s legal representatives and have already provided proof of payment to Fifa,” said the club in a statement.
“The registration ban shall be lifted in due course.”
In regards to the matter involving Nurkovic, the club explained: “Royal AM confirms that the appeal against the Fifa decision in the Nurkovic matter is still pending at CAS.
“The delay in the finalisation of the matter has been occasioned by the refusal by Mr Nurkovic and Fifa to have an expedited procedure and the refusal by Mr Nurkovic to pay his share of the advanced costs.
“Royal AM has paid the full advanced costs, which include Mr Nurkovic’s share of the advanced costs.
“It is worth noting that Mr Nurkovic has now expressed his desire to have the matter expeditiously resolved, and Royal AM agrees with this proposal.
“Currently, we await a directive from the CAS office regarding the appointed arbitrator in this matter, the procedure to be adopted, and the allocation of the date of this hearing.”