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Friday, January 29, 2010

Adrian Mutu

Romanian striker Adrian Mutu, currently playing for Fiorentina of Serie A, has allegedly failed yet another drug test, seriously jeopardizing a promising, yet troubled, career.

You may recall that in October of 2004, Mutu, while playing for Chelsea (which had paid a £15.8 million transfer fee for Mutu), tested positive for cocaine. Chelsea subsequently terminated Mutu’s contract. In addition, FIFA handed down a 7 month suspension, which prevented Mutu from performing for any other club. Following his suspension, Mutu signed with Juventus FC. After a year with Juventus, Mutu was sold to his current club, Fiorentina.

Chelsea subsequently sought compensation from Mutu related to the £15.8 million transfer fee and other damages. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) found in favor of Chelslea, and ordered Mutu to pay Chelsea £17 million in damages.

There are intriguing legal issues with respect to the CAS award. Specifically, Chelsea sought, and was awarded damages based upon a contract between Chelsea and Parma, Mutu’s former club. Parma was the beneficiary of the £15.8 million transfer fee, not Mutu. Mutu was not party to the contract between Chelsea and Parma, yet the CAS held that Mutu, as a result of his testing positive for cocaine, was liable for the amount of the transfer fee (and other related damages).

In my opinion, the CAS decision is flawed. Michael Stival, a 2L at Rutgers School of Law, and I will be exploring the Mutu decision in an upcoming article. There are sure to be additional issues related to Mutu’s most recent positive drug test, which will also be explored in the article.

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