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Paraguayan football club Olimpia has missed a 30-day deadline set by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to pay more than $700,000 in damages to Sebastián Ariosa, a Uruguayan player it suspended when he was being treated for cancer.

Club Olimpia stopped paying Ariosa’s wages in October 2012 and suspended his contract in December 2013 while he was having chemotherapy. On 29 July 2015, CAS ordered the club pay Ariosa damages for contract breaches and for “moral damage.”

The Paraguayan club is now seeking to lower the amount citing severe financial problems. At the same time, former Olimpia president Manuel Nogues Zubizarreta said that Ariosa is being ungrateful and “should be happy to be alive instead of complaining about not receiving the money he is owed.”

Ariosa has recovered from cancer and is now playing in Uruguay for Defensor Sporting.

Non-payment of wages is a recurring problem in professional football even after rulings by FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber and the CAS. It can lead to enormous problems for a player and his family because not every player is a millionaire. Most have average salaries and bills to be paid, just like any average worker.

It is one of the main reasons which led to FIFPro’s decision to lodge a complaint against FIFA’s transfer rules with the European Commission, according to FIFPro General Secretary Theo van Seggelen.

“Olimpia is a clear example of what is wrong in football,” Van Seggelen said. “To FIFPro it is obvious; if clubs do not respect the regulations and if they simply refuse to comply with the main principle of professional football, then they do not deserve to belong in professional football.”

“There are many more players such as Ariosa. It is up to the governing bodies worldwide, both internationally and nationally, to create effective measures that fully guarantee that a club respects the contract that it has signed with a player.”

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