Player vs Club War: Tunisian Club Ordered to Pay Brazilian Flop Signing
Leopoldo Roberto Markovsky’s name does not ring a bell at the mention of it in North Africa. He arrived from Brazilian third-tier side, Volta Redonda Futbol Clube in the summer of 2012.
Acquired on a three and a half – year deal when Hafedh Hamaeid was chairman, his acquisition, in something of a marquee signing, was to mark the beginning of a new era for Etoile Sportif du Sahel who looked determined to come out of arch rivals, Esperance du Tunis’s shadows for the first time.
Markovsky’s signing was meant to outline the board’s intentions towards a new approach with the Sao Paulo-born player expected to be the core of a much revamped Etoile side. However, a plan that could have seen Roberto at the center of events panned out as hoped but on the contrary, without the input of the foreign-striker.
Cracks which would later reduce the then 28-year-old to a flop-buy began showing in Markovsky’s first day of training at the Stade El Menza grounds.
It didn’t take chairman Hamaeid that long to realize that the man whose deal he so feverishly engineered, would turn into an expensive embarrassment. Not only did he fail to cut it in the A-team, but was slowly headed for the fringe players’ team – the clubs’ reserves.
But the damage was already apparent. The chairman and the club’s technical side’s image is now being questioned by all scrutinizing partners of the side, for gambling highly on a player whose inabilities, they believed, could have been noted earlier with just a basic trial.
During an era of turbulent times at the club and in the face of growing criticism, wasteful spending of cash was the last thing on the minds of season ticket holders and so Hafedeh came out on the receiving end of derides.
Adding further injury to wound, Markovsky did not just fail to make a single appearance for ESS but has returned to haunt the club. Now the 34-year-old attacker has taken to FIFA claiming he’s owed substantially in wages, accusing the North African club of breach of contract.
The Lausanne-based institution has since reached a verdict on the case to the dismay of ESS.
FIFA accepted Markovsky’s version of events and according to the world football governing body, Sahel must settle the player $800,000 while slapping a further $300,000 fine on the North Africans – amounts of which must be paid before September’s end.
ESS, now run by a steering committee, took umbrage and are disenchanted at the thought of having to pay a player who, according to current chairman Ridha Charfeddine, deserted the side at will and did not see out his initial 3-and-half-year deal.
Leo –Roberto’s nickname – repudiates the chairman’s claim that he left on his own accord, insisting he departed because he was considered a surplus to the requirement which he said ran counter to the board’s initial assurances that he will be featured regularly.
However, with the ultimatum now nearing and in the face of teething pressure from FIFA, Etoile Sportive’s hierarchy last week summoned up an all stakeholders’ meeting.
The confab, which comprised mainly of directors from partner groups, was staged to discuss ways of raising the stipulated $800,000 dollars.
The club’s official fan group has since urged supporters to help the cause to free the club of debts. A further FIFA sanction could be looming should ESS not act before the deadline.
Featured Photo: Ligue 1 Pro