Yadah Stars faces FIFA wrath: Hefty $82,000 fine and 3-year player registration ban


Harare, Zimbabwe – The once-lauded Yadah Stars, the ambitious Premier Soccer League side backed by the Prophetic Healing Deliverance Ministries and the church’s leader Prophet Walter Magaya, are facing a storm of their own making. FIFA, football’s global governing body, has come down hard on the club, slapping them with a hefty US$82 000 fine for breaching contracts with three Brazilian players.

The “Miracle Boys”, as they are known, have been given a 45-day grace period, until July 27, to settle the penalty. Failure to do so will result in a crippling ban, preventing them from registering new players both locally and internationally for three consecutive transfer windows. This could severely cripple their ability to compete on the field, a stark contrast to the club’s initial ambitions.

The sanctions stem from Yadah’s unceremonious dismissal of the Brazilian trio – Joao Pedro Marques Barcellos, Juan Luciano Faria, and Deivid Pereira de Brito – without following FIFA-approved procedures. The players, initially hailed as “marque signings” during a glitzy unveiling ceremony in July 2023, were left disillusioned and ultimately sought recourse through FIFA.

“The club failed to pay the salaries for the months of October, November and December 2023 as well as January and February 2024,” FIFA stated in its ruling, highlighting the club’s blatant disregard for contractual obligations.

The Brazilians, unhappy with their treatment, took their case to FIFA on May 10, accusing Yadah of terminating their contracts “without just cause”. FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber, in a lengthy and detailed ruling on June 12, ordered Yadah to pay each player US$19 580, plus 5 percent interest per annum from April 4, 2024, until the date of effective payment.

The ruling also stipulated that Yadah must pay each player US$1 220 for every month between November 1, 2023, and April 1, 2024, a period during which the club failed to meet its financial commitments.

“The claim of the claimant, Joao Pedro Marques Barcellos, is accepted,” the ruling stated, with identical judgments issued in favour of de Brito and Faria. “The respondent, Yadah FC, must pay to the claimant the following amount(s): date of effective payment and — US$19 580 as compensation for breach of contract without just cause plus 5 percent interest p.a. as from April 4, 2024 until the date of effective payment.”

The ruling further outlined the consequences of non-payment: “Pursuant to art. 24 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, if full payment (including all applicable interest) is not made within 45 days of notification of this decision, the following consequences shall apply:

  • The Respondent shall be banned from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, up until the due amount is paid.
  • The maximum duration of the ban shall be up to three entire and consecutive registration periods.
  • The present matter shall be submitted, upon request, to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee in the event that full payment (including all applicable interest) is still not made by the end of the three entire and consecutive registration periods.”

This is not the first time a Zimbabwean football institution has faced FIFA sanctions involving Brazilian players. In July 2015, ZIFA, the Zimbabwe Football Association, was expelled from the 2018 World Cup draw after failing to settle a US$60 000 debt owed to former Warriors coach Valinhos.

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