Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA)

South China set to avoid Fifa sanctions with contract disputes almost settled after walking away from Premier League

Serbia’s Bojan Malisic and Nikola Komazec agree compensation with Caroliners, although Brazilian Luiz Carlos is yet to finalise exit package with the now first division outfit

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 4:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 11:06pm

Fallen Hong Kong heavyweights South China are unlikely to face sanctions from Fifa after settling the majority of their players’ contracts following their decision to drop down to the first division ahead of the new season.

South China still had nine players, including three from overseas, under contract for another season when they made the surprising decision to withdraw from the top-flight Premier League in June, with some of the foreign players taking their cases to Fifa for arbitration.

However, it is believed Serbia’s Bojan Malisic and Nikola Komazec have both accepted a one-off payment from the club to leave Hong Kong while other local players, headed by former Manchester City academy product Sean Tse Ka-keung and captain Chan Wai-ho, have also agreed terms with South China and found new clubs for the new season.

The case surrounding Brazilian Luiz Carlos is still under consideration as the midfielder has yet to accept the terms for an early contract termination.

“We have made [Luiz Carlos] an offer, but apparently he wants more than that,” said a South China official.

“If we can’t settle the amount, we may have to call him back to play for us in the amateur first division. But we all know this is not ideal and are still trying to work out a solution that is acceptable to both sides.”

The 35-year-old joined the Caroliners in 2015 through fellow Brazilian and former coach Casemiro Mior and memorably scored in the 1-0 win over Ceres of the Philippines in 2015 as South China reached the quarter-finals of the regional tournament.

“We understand the club is in the process of agreeing negotiated settlements [for the foreign players] in the same way as has been achieved with the local players,” said Hong Kong Football Association chief executive Mark Sutcliffe.

“The matter will only be referred to the Fifa Disputes Resolution Chamber if this can’t be achieved. I am cautiously confident that the matter will be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction without the need for Fifa intervention.”

Attacking midfielder Tse, believed to be one of the highest paid local players, joined Tai Po earlier this week, while Chan has joined Sapling ahead of the new Premier League season which begins on August 25 as defending champions Kitchee take on last season’s runners-up Eastern at Mong Kok Stadium.