Dismissal of a Coach in Dutch Professional Football: Insights of the case Oliseh/FortunaSittard

Dismissal of a Coach in Dutch Professional Football: Insights of the case Oliseh/FortunaSittard

It is common practice that coaches of Dutch professional football clubs have a fixed-term employment contract that cannot be prematurely terminated by one party. In practice the consequence is that clubs that want to dismiss a coach before his contract expires - e.g. due to bad results - are often obliged to pay a relatively high compensation to the coach. In principle, this compensation should be equal to the amount of salary that would have been due until the expiry date of the original contract term. The court or arbitration panel may, however, reduce such compensation, depending on the circumstances of the case. With regard thereto, the recent decision of the Arbitration Tribunal of the Royal Dutch Football Association (the KNVB Arbitration Tribunal) of 5 April 2018 in the case of the First Division (i.e. the second level in Dutch professional football) club Fortuna Sittard and (former) head coach Sunday Oliseh (hereinafter referred as to Oliseh) is highly relevant.

KNVB Arbitration Tribunal, 5 April 2018, case no. 1473, Sunday Oliseh v. Fortuna Sittard


Legal framework coaches

The contractual relationship between Dutch professional football clubs[1] and coaches is governed by the collective bargaining agreement “Trainer Coaches Professional Football 2016-2019” (the CBA). The CBA is applicable to head coaches and assistants of the first team, coaches of second and youth teams, technical directors and head scouts of Dutch professional football clubs. The CBA exempts these persons from the Dutch mandatory provisions on succession of fixed-term employment contracts. Regular employees in the Netherlands may have several - with a maximum of three subsequent - fixed-term employment contracts only during...

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