LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP)Premier League team Leeds lost a multi-million dollar pandemic-related transfer dispute with German club Leipzig on Friday.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed an appeal by Leeds against a FIFA ruling that had ordered the English club to pay Leipzig 6.7 million euros ($6.6 million) for French forward Jean-Kevin Augustin.
CAS said the money was due as the first installment of a 21 million euro ($20.6 million) deal but was affected when the coronavirus pandemic shut down the 2019-20 season. The season eventually finished several weeks later than scheduled.
Leeds was in the second division in January 2020 when it signed the former France under-21 forward on loan from Leipzig. The agreement required Leeds to sign Augustin on July 1, 2020, for 21 million euros ($23 million) if the team won promotion to the Premier League.
However, English soccer paused early in March as the COVID-19 outbreak spread and Leeds finished first in the league in July despite Augustin barely playing.
European soccer contracts typically expire on June 30 and FIFA, which oversees transfer rules, gave emergency advice in the pandemic that ”contracts be extended until such time that the season does actually end.”
Leipzig took its case to FIFA when Leeds argued Augustin’s loan deal had expired before promotion was won so he did not have to be signed permanently.
CAS said ”the Purchase Obligation had been triggered at the end of the 2019-2020 season, even though the season had concluded later than expected due to the disruption caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Augustin was not wanted at Leipzig and had a spell at French club Nantes before joining current club Basel in Switzerland.
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