ZURICH (AP) — French soccer team Angers and second-division club Paris FC were banned from the transfer market on Friday for staging a player deal to lower payments to his previous clubs.
Angers and Paris FC, which is chasing promotion to the top division, were each banned from registering new players for one transfer window and fined 30,000 Swiss francs ($33,000), FIFA said.
The clubs were found to have arranged a “bridge transfer” for Kevin Bemanga, who joined Paris FC last July and then signed for Angers six weeks later.
“It was ruled that the transfer to Paris FC had not been arranged for the purpose of the player playing organized football, but rather to circumvent the rules concerning training compensation,” FIFA said. “This is the first time that FIFA’s judicial bodies have imposed a sanction for breaches regarding bridge transfers since the provisions entered into force in 2020.”
Transfer rules entitle clubs which trained a player to be paid when a first professional contract is signed, and from subsequent moves to other clubs.
FIFA, which did not identify Bemanga in its statement, said he previously played for amateur clubs in France and Spain.
Angers said it respected all national and international rules when it signed Bemanga, a 23-year-old French-Congolese winger, and would appeal to FIFA against the ban.
“Angers learned with bewilderment of this unfounded, unexpected and disproportionate decision taken without the slightest evidence,” the club said in a statement.
Paris FC published the same comment in its statement.
Angers, which loaned Bemanga to Swiss club Sion this year, is currently in 12th place in the French league. Paris FC is in sixth place in the second division and could qualify for the promotion playoffs.
It was unclear if the transfer bans will apply in the upcoming offseason, or could be delayed if the clubs also seek to freeze the punishment during appeals.