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.
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 Â£440,000 and Newcastle United must pay Â£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 â€“ 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 â€“ 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 â€“ 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 â€“ but comments are always welcome.