Hibs pay Raja Casablanca for Zemmama!!

Last updated : 21 April 2007 By Steve Forbes

Hibs chairman Rod Petrie today disclosed that the Hi-Bees had paid up in the long running dispute with Raja Casablanca over Moroccan wizard Merouane Zemmama.

Raja Casablanca claimed that Zemmama was still under contract to them, when Hibs signed him under freedom of contract at the start of the season.

Hibs and Zemmama denied any wrong doing and both the Moroccan and Scottish football associations seemed to back this up by giving the player international clearance to play for the Hi-Bees.

It is thought Hibs have paid Raja Casablnaca £100,000 instead of the £230,000 being quoted by some area's of the media.

Now it seems Hibs have nullified any chance of repercussions by paying Raja
for Zemmama's services. Hibs chairman Petrie admitted that Hibs done this to fend of any chance of a transfer embargo being placed on the Easter Road club, meaning they could not bring any players in over the next two transfer windows if found guilty by FIFA.

Casablanca claimed that Hibs have agreed to pay £230,000 for the player.

Casablanca have also claimed that Hibs will head to Morocco for pre-season at the end of the season AND play a friendly with Moroccan side, this is, as yet unconfirmed.

Hibs chairman Rod Petrie said:

"I can confirm we have reached an amicable solution with Raja Casablanca which is what FIFA encouraged both parties to do. The agreement is subject to a confidentiality undertaking between all parties."

"We are making a significant payment but certainly not the figures they are quoting. The agreement has possibly been achieved because there's been a change of personnel in the management committee of Raja and they have taken a more pragmatic approach. There were a number of reasons which led us to find a practical solution. It was never our intention to be in dispute or disagreement with another club.

"The player's position has been somewhat fraught since he came to Edinburgh, he's not felt able to return to Morocco since so there was a human element to it as well. This allegation arose after Merouane had been fully signed and registered with Hibernian Football Club. Neither ourselves or the SFA had done anything wrong but there was obviously some on-going dispute within Morocco."

"Merouane was very clear as to his status when he left Raja. He hasn't felt able to return to Morocco since and he's told me he intends to get married this summer so hopefully he can now be reunited with his wife-to-be."

Petrie also said of the possible transfer embargo:

"Strangely, in FIFA's regulations there is a presumption of guilt rather than innocence with a really pernicious penalty so we took the pragmatic view to resolve it, remove that from the equation and leave John free to do what he needs to do to reshape his team."

Good news, now we can get on with preparing for another trip to Hampden on Tuesday.

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