Berne - Paraguayan club Olimpia have been ordered to pay compensation to a player whose contract was suspended while he was being treated for cancer, the world players' union FIFPro said Tuesday.
FIFPro described the ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in favour of Sebastian Ariosa as a "major legal victory" after the Uruguayan was awarded "moral damage" in the case.
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FIFPro said that Ariosa was diagnosed with a mediastinal tumour in May 2013 and Olimpia suspended his contract the following December until he was fit to play again.
In January 2014, Ariosa cancelled his contract with Olimpia, which still had nearly two years to run, for non-compliance.
However, according to FIFPro, Olimpia ordered him to resume training immediately, even though he was undergoing chemeotherapy.
In its decision, CAS ordered Olimpia to pay Ariosa his overdue salary as well as a so-called 13th month for every year of his contract and the remainder of his contract which ran until December 2015.
The club was also ordered to pay "moral damage" and compensate Ariosa due to its lack of sportive ethics, FIFPro said.
"This creates a precedent for a number of serious issues, such as the illegality of the suspension of a contract due to illness, and the possibility to be granted moral damage," FIFPro legal counsel Alexandra Gomez said in a FIFPro statement. "We see this as a great result."
Another important aspect, said Gomez, was that CAS, in ordering Olimpia to pay the 13th salary, had applied national law over FIFA guidelines.
"This reinforces the fact that a professional footballer is a worker and therefore is entitled to all the worker's rights," said Gomez.
"CAS said that when agreeing to a contract with a player, a club has to provide the player with assistance in coping with 'life events' by paying a salary and insurance.
"Olimpia was in breach on all counts. Its response was to stop paying and suspend Ariosa, while demanding that the player return to training in the midst of his treatment.
"This behaviour corresponds with the two requirements which the tribunal considered in order to grant moral damage: exceptionality and severity."
CAS and Olimpia could not be immediately reached for comment. FIFPro said that Ariosa, 30, has recovered from his treatment and has resumed his career in his homeland with Defensor Sporting.