Newcastle and N’Zogbia Must Pay Compensation to Le Havre

Newcastle have surprisingly been ordered to pay Le Havre compensation for Charles N’Zogbia, nearly three years after Charles moved to Newcastle from the French club.

The left winger joined Newcastle from Le Havre on 2nd September, 2004 but the two clubs have been locked in a dispute over the player ever since.


Charles N’Zogbia

Le Havre have always claimed that N’Zogbia signed an education contract with them as a teenager – and was therefore not free to sign for Newcastle because of French Federation regulations. At the time of the initial argument Le Havre said Charles had to stay with them as an apprentice for at least two years.

N’Zogbia impressed greatly during a pre-season trial with Newcastle in 2004 as a left sided midfielder and made his Premiership debut as a last minute substitute in the 3 – 0 win over Blackburn on 11th September 2004. You may remember that was Newcastle’s first game after Sir Bobby Robson had been sacked as manager. Graeme Souness had been named manager during the previous week and was to take over the following Monday. Souness watched the game from the stands against his previous club.

The N’Zogbia case initially went to FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber, who finally sided with Newcastle and confirmed Charles’ right to an international transfer from Le Havre, the French Second Division Club. Newcastle United were at that time told to pay compensation to the French Club.

But Le Havre refused to accept defeat and took their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and surprisingly have now been rewarded with compensation from both Newcastle and N’Zogbia himself. The player must pay the Ligue 2 club £440,000 and Newcastle United must pay £200,000.

This all seems a little bizarre to us as we thought the case had already been sorted out by FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Board. But not so – and three years later Newcastle – and even the player himself (which seems bizarre in the extreme) – have to pay compensation to the Le Havre club. This does seem weird and we can only believe the laws governing Charles at that time in France were gray – at the very best.

Le Havre general manager Alain Belsoeur was happy with the outcome and said:

“Now when there is a violation of a contractual commitment, there will be reparation,”

“That will force the predators to step back.”

“We will be able to raise our heads high again and go back to our education work.”

To call Newcastle United a predator is a little strange – but then the whole case seems weird.

There’s no doubt Charles N’Zogbia is worth the extra money of course and we are looking forward to the Frenchman starring again for us next season. Charles has made 98 appearances for Newcastle (67 starts) and scored 6 goals in his three years at the club.

Wonder if this is the end of the case?

We shall see – but comments are always welcome.

10 comments so far

  • nightfall

    Jul 19, 2007 at 5:02 PM

    Comment #1

    pay them…and club should also payed n’zogbias compensation… hopefuly then he’ll feel wanted and needed and he’ll want to stay…

  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 19, 2007 at 5:06 PM

    Comment #2

    That’s a good point.

  • Nick

    Jul 19, 2007 at 5:53 PM

    Comment #3

    Does he really need that sought of encouragement?

  • Rich

    Jul 19, 2007 at 6:31 PM

    Comment #4

    Zog has to pay almost half a mil? isnt that a bit excessive? players have done far worse and scraped a few thousand, but half a mil??

  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 19, 2007 at 8:06 PM

    Comment #5

    How can you fine a player when he’s signed by another club. The rules cannot have been too clear because Newcastle initially won the case – but then to fine the player himself – that’s just ridiculous. We assume Newcastle will pay the fine for him – but why fine N’Zogbia?
    What’s the crime?

  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 19, 2007 at 8:07 PM

    Comment #6

    There should be an appeal – at least against Charles’ fine.

  • Howie

    Jul 19, 2007 at 8:39 PM

    Comment #7

    Ed newcastle will pay n’zogbia’s fine i would think. I think today has been the most boring day over the last few weeks as regards news if we are talking about this. Not one interesting story at all today but keep up the good work Ed.

  • Ed Harrison

    Jul 19, 2007 at 8:41 PM

    Comment #8

    Thanks Howie – we are waiting (with baited breath) for the next Newcastle signing – we are almost there – if only we can move in 3 good defenders we’ll have a strong squad – and could really go places.

  • AndyT

    Jul 19, 2007 at 9:32 PM

    Comment #9

    I think Zogs has to pay because he had the contract with Le Havre – its a bit like the ability of a player to buy himself out of his contract and make himself a free agent. I think the ruling was along the lines that Zogs effectively bought himself out of his contract.

  • Tony

    Jul 19, 2007 at 10:10 PM

    Comment #10

    It speaks volumes for the priorities the world game has when it hands out fairly chunky fines such as this against club and player…for an offence that is a little confusing to say the least.

    However, you get a ground and team racially abusing players and the hand out the sort of fine you could run up by just going over your overdraft limit for a week!

    The people that run our beautiful game are a bunch of Morons!


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