Unilateral Decision on Deduction of Player Salary during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Unilateral Decision on Deduction of Player Salary during the COVID-19 Pandemic

[1] This case is about the unilateral decision of the Saudi Arabian club Al Ettifaq (Club) to reduce the salary of the Tunisian international player Naim Sliti (Player) by 47.9% during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) did not agree with the FIFA decision that the Club complied with the FIFA COVID-19 Guidelines and overturned it entirely. As a result, the Panel granted the Player the outstanding wages in full and annulled all fines for absence from work.

Brief Facts

On 15 April 2020, the Club sent an email to the Player and his agent with an attached document of a draft agreement titled as “Covid-19 Pandemic Agreement“, inviting the Player to sign it, and thereby agree to a reduction in his monthly salary as a result of the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the Player’s agent replied that the Player’s lawyer would contact the Club in a day or two, he never did.

Therefore, the Club decided to reduce 47.9% of the Player’s salary with a retroactive effect from 15 March 2020, until the football activities in Saudi Arabia resume.

In May 2020, the Player informed the Club that he would travel with his family to his home country, Tunisia, and return before  the beginning of the training, according

to the health rules of the country. The Club granted permission.

In June 2020, the Player’s counsel put the Club in...

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