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Arsenal can lay down a marker

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By ESPN Staff

FIFA fine Australian defender Thwaite in club dispute

BUCHAREST, Sept 1 (Reuters) - FIFA has fined Australian defender Michael Thwaite and Wisla Krakow 45,000 euros after he joined the Polish club while still under contract to Romania's National Bucharest.

The world body's Dispute Resolution Chamber ruled that the player was contracted to National until December 2006 and ordered him and the club to pay the fine within 30 days.

'Wisla Krakow is jointly and severally liable for the payment of this amount,' FIFA said, finding the Polish club responsible for contacting a player under contract and signing an illegal deal.

Both Thwaite and Wisla Krakow have 21 days to appeal.

The player signed a deal in February taking him to Krakow from July. He had argued that his National contract ended on June 1.

Thwaite had also asked FIFA to declare him free of contract, complaining about a 'slave system' in Romanian football and saying his life there was 'a hell'. He refused to join the team for training and matches.