Premier League players can “get away” from their clubs on June 30, says prominent sports lawyer | Football News


Willian (right) and Olivier Giroud (left) are both out of contract at Chelsea this summer

Willian (right) and Olivier Giroud (left) are both out of contract at Chelsea this summer

A major sports lawyer said players without a contract in England could ignore FIFA’s offers and leave their clubs at the end of June, even if the season had not resumed.

Nick De Marco QC, who has represented sports governing bodies, players, clubs and agents since 2002, says players will have the right to “leave” clubs if their contract expires on June 30.

Earlier this week, FIFA proposed that the contracts be “extended until the season really ends” and asked that the same principle be applied to contracts that are expected to start at the start of the new season.

But De Marco says their recommendations cannot be implemented under English labor law.

“Legally, they cannot be forced to continue playing for the club,” said De Marco of Blackstone Chambers. Sky Sports News.

“No one can force them to do it; FIFA, the FA, the club, or anyone else. If they want to get away, it’s a question for them but it will really be a question of whether, financially, it makes sense for them. “

Jan Vertonghen is out of contract at Tottenham this summer

Jan Vertonghen is out of contract at Tottenham this summer

“What you are most likely to see as a preferred option are probably very short-term contract extensions based on existing salary conditions.

“For example, if you are a player arriving towards the end of your contract and, perhaps, the end of your career, perhaps you have only one contract left, you may be very reluctant to sign a contract for only a few weeks or an indefinite period of time.

“If you are a financially stressed lower league club, you will not want to pay players after June 30. So a single solution will not work. It will depend on each. The key will be the agreements. ”

Will the players leave?

Gordon Taylor said the Premier League players felt like they were being caught in the corner by calls for a pay cut.

Gordon Taylor said the Premier League players felt like they were being caught in the corner by calls for a pay cut.

De Marco advises the Association of Professional Footballers during the coronavirus pandemic, but cannot comment on the negotiations under way.

According to him, from a legal point of view, players who have been out of contract since June 30 have the right to leave, regardless of their club’s preference for the resumption of the season.

“If the players are out of contract then, as far as the law is concerned, they are no longer employees and they are free to leave,” he explains. “The real problem is:” Are the players leaving or not? “. It will depend on the circumstances of each case.

“If the transfer window is closed, they may move away and be unable to find another club. Now they can take legal action under these circumstances, or they just have to wait two or three months. They may prefer that, to sign a contract that prevents them from making the next move. What individual players do will depend on each player and each club. ”

Transfer window: “could be very unfair”

FIFA says it will allow associations to move dates from this summer’s transfer window.

“The biggest problem for all of us is obviously the duration of this coronavirus and when we can resume the season,” he explains. “It will have the greatest effect on the transfer window and when the season resumes. What would happen if the season could not start before August or September, which is quite possible?

“If you didn’t start the transfer window before that, it could be very unfair to the players, who are going to be out of contract in June, and don’t want to sign the new contract. It could be very unfair to clubs that desperately want some of them to release players. The real problem will be when the season can practically start again. ”

Ryan Fraser could leave Bournemouth for free transfer

Ryan Fraser could leave Bournemouth for free transfer

Pre-contracts: good idea?

“One possible solution that has been suggested is to allow players to sign pre-contracts,” says De Marco. “So if a club wants to keep a player, but the player doesn’t really want to sign a two-month contract because they have a three-year offer elsewhere, they can sign the three-year contract elsewhere, but it starts in two months .

“The problem is, you have all kinds of integrity issues. There is no easy solution. I don’t think we will really know what the solution is until we get closer to knowing when and how the season can resume. ”

Coronavirus: a “depressed” market

“I think the most important thing we will see is the global economic crisis and, in particular, the squeezing of football finances means that it will be a very depressed football market,” said De Marco. “Not only in terms of transfer fees but also, you expect this to have a knock-on effect on player salaries. This is probably the biggest effect you will see.

“You will also have clubs that can afford to go there and buy and will be able to do so on much more favorable terms, and you will have other clubs that may be forced to sell at a lower price. What this is likely to increase the difference between the wealthiest clubs and the rest, which is generally not a good thing for football.

“There are clubs that can afford to pay [high] wages, there will always be these clubs. I’m not going to name them, but you know the type of clubs that exist, both in the UK and in Europe. These clubs will compete for the best players.

“It means that these best players will always be able to maintain a high salary and that it will have ripple effects. Yes, there will be a depressive impact. “

FA President Greg Clarke Recently Raised Concerns About Club's Future

FA President Greg Clarke Recently Raised Concerns About Club’s Future

AF “should listen to football”

FA President Greg Clarke has warned that clubs and leagues could be “lost” due to the financial impact of the pandemic.

De Marco says that the governing body of English football must maintain a regular dialogue with everyone in the match.

“I hope the FA listens very carefully to the Premier League and the Football League and to clubs and players on what they see as necessary to make the season work,” said De Marco. “It would make no sense for the FA to just apply the rules for fun, if it doesn’t help the resumption of the season or if it leads to a lot of conflict between players and clubs.

“So the FAs need to listen very carefully to what those on the front lines of the game say is necessary and I expect them to do so. “

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