Ghana defender Jonathan Mensah will miss the start of next season as he is scheduled to return to club action in September following the decision by FIFA to ban him for four months, GHANAsoccernet.com can exclusively reveal.
Mensah has just been handed a four-month ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport as a result of his disputed move from Italian side Udinese to his French club Evian in 2011.
The ban was originally handed by the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber on 30 July 2014 and was upheld by CAS following the decision by Evian to appeal.
While the decision was placed before CAS for arbitration, the four-ban on Mensah was suspended until the final decision was made on 30 April.
“Mr Mensah received a four-month ban in the FIFA decision. Such decision was stayed during the arbitration procedure at the CAS,” Katy Hogg, CAS Communications manager, told Ghana’s leading football news website GHANAsoccernet.com exclusively.
With the season coming to end in Europe this month, Mensah’s ban will be suspended at the end of the current season to resume at the start of next term.
This means he would have served one month of the ban at the end of this season with the three outstanding months to kick in when the season starts in Europe in late July.
Mensah will therefore return to club action on 30 September even though he is able to play for his country during the period of the supension.
Citing Article 17 par. 3 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, FIFA implied in an message to GHANAsoccernet.com
“This sanction shall be a four-month restriction on playing in official matches. In the case of aggravating circumstances, the restriction shall last six months,” the FIFA regulation explains.
“These sporting sanctions shall take effect immediately once the player has been notified of the relevant decision.
“The sporting sanctions shall remain suspended in the period between the last official match of the season and the first official match of the next season, in both cases including national cups and international championships for clubs.”
Scottish side Celtic are among the several clubs keen on signing Mensah – even though the centre-back will miss the start of next season through suspension.
Hoops boss Ronny Deila is keen on the Evian defender, who will be a free agent this summer, as he faces the threat of losing in-demand Virgil van Dijk and on-loan Jason Denayer.
Mensah has won 27 Ghana caps, and played in all the Black Stars' three games at last summer's World Cup finals in Brazil.
He has seen his value soar to £5million with a series of stellar displays to help his unfancied club survive in Ligue 1 since promotion in 2011.
But they were finally relegated at the weekend, and Mensah is strongly tempted by the prospect of Champions League football at Parkhead next season.
Mensah helped Ghana finish runners-up at the Africa Cup of Nations in February. He has also had a spell on loan to Spaniards Granada.
The Accra-born defender began his career with Ghanaian club Ashanti Gold before joining South African side Free State Stars.