Leeds say they are “surprised and disappointed” and will look to challenge the decision after their appeal against the transfer of Jean-Kevin Augustin was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The club have been ordered to pay RB Leipzig £18.4million for French forward Augustin, who arrived at Elland Road on loan in January 2020 with an obligation to make the move permanent if Leeds won promotion to the Premier League.
They went up at the end of the 2019-20 season, but have argued that because the campaign was not completed until July due to the coronavirus pandemic, the ‘purchase obligation’ had been nullified.
Leeds appealed after FIFA ruled in June that they must honour the obligation, but CAS upheld the decision “in its entirety” in Lausanne on Thursday and confirmed the club will pay the first instalment of £5.9m for Augustin.
A subsequent statement from the West Yorkshire outfit said: “Leeds United are surprised and disappointed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision, which not only contradicts the language and meaning of the contract but also the practices adopted in European football under FIFA regulations, due to the unique impact of the extensions to the season necessitated by Covid postponements.
“The club will now review carefully all of its legal options with a view to an immediate appeal. We will make no further comment at this time.”
A statement released by CAS said: “The CAS Panel in charge of the matter has dismissed the appeal filed by LUFC and confirmed the challenged decision in its entirety, including the obligation of LUFC to pay to RB Leipzig the first instalment of the transfer fee, i.e. euros 6,740,174.
“Further to its deliberations, the panel held that the purchase obligation had been triggered at the end of the 2019-2020 season, even though the season had concluded later than expected due to the disruption caused by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, and confirmed the challenged decision in full, including the obligation of LUFC to pay to RB Leipzig the first instalment of the transfer fee, the two other instalments being not due yet, at the time of the FIFA procedure.”
Augustin made just three substitute appearances for Leeds during their Championship title-winning season due to fitness and injury issues.
He joined French club Nantes in a permanent deal the following October and moved on to Swiss side Basel in June.