In the world of football, it is very common for players to be terminated by clubs for reasons such as limited foreign player quota and personality incompatibility with the coach. In the event of unilateral termination by a club, the club generally has the obligation to pay the residual value of the player’s contract. Many clubs, however, attempt to evade this obligation by using various tactics. We have seen cases where clubs use trickery and threats to force players into mutual termination agreements, where players are coerced into signing fake receipts showing payment of the full payment of the remaining compensation, where club management falsifies players’ signatures, where clubs lie about players’ having engaged in misconduct, and where clubs try to fine players for the “misconduct” that they never committed. The FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) and Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) have established a fair amount of jurisprudence on such cases.
Among these different types of cases, the trickiest for players and their counsel are the following two types: (1) Even though a club may inform a player of his/her termination orally, it refuses to put the termination in writing; and (2) Despite a club’s clear loss of interest in a player, it refrains from officially terminating the player’s contract. In these situations, the response of the player’s counsel is put to the test. Dealt inappropriately, the player will not only be denied the residual compensation but will also be subject to the risk of paying compensation and fines to the club for the breach of contract.
In addition to obtaining evidence in writing whenever possible, the player’s counsel also plays an important role in guiding the player through this stressful process and providing emotional support along the way. International players who play in a foreign country tend to become very anxious when told by their clubs...
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