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FIFPro criticises lifetime bans for Ukrainian players

| By Robert Fletcher
The International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPro) has raised concerns over how a number of Ukrainian players have been handed life bans by the Football Federation of Armenia (FFA), saying the rulings were made based on reports without “substantial evidence”.
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The bans, issued by the FFA Disciplinary and Ethics Committee, were sanctioned on the basis of reports from unnamed sports data providers, with the players in questions now facing lifetime bans from the professional game.

However, FIFPro said though it supports football’s fight against match-fixing, it criticised the FFA for sanctioning the players based on the reports alone, and without due process.

According to FIFPro, the players were not informed of any procedure in front of the Committee, while they were handed the bans without being able to respond.

The players also had to pay a fee to the FFA in order to receive the decisions and the material on which basis the rulings were made.

In order to appeal against the rulings to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the players must pay an advance fee of CHF20,000 (£16,847/€17,705/$21,863), which has been elevated after the FFA refused to pay its share of costs.

“This advance has been a tremendous obstacle for players to access justice. FIFPro strongly believes that disciplinary proceedings as well as any appeal should be free of costs,” FIFPro said.

FIFPro also referenced a recent case involving Latvian goalkeeper Igor Labuts, who successfully appeased to the CAS over a decision by the Football Association of Ireland.

In this case, the sanction was issued on the basis of a report supplied by a sports data provider and match footage reviewed by football pundits.

The criticism comes after FIFPro last month had its new smartphone app to anonymously report match-fixing in football approved as a valid reporting tool for potential corruption by the sport’s global governing body Fifa.

Fifa and its integrity department will now investigate confidential information submitted via the app that is shared by FIFPro.

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