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1. Validity of the contract dependant from injury

Are the following clauses valid?

  • A player is injured. In the contract the following provision has been made: The club is allowed to terminate the contract immediately if the player gets injured.
  • A player signs a contract with the following clause: if the player will not pass the medical tests of the club, the contract will be null and void.

Answer: One of the principles of the FIFA-regulations is the contractual stability. In article 18.4 of the FIFA rules is explicitly provided, these clauses are not valid.


2. Validity of a contract dependant from performances

Is the following clause valid?

A contract has been signed with the following clause: If the coach issues a bad report on the player’s performance, the club has just cause to terminate the contract without any further financial duties.

Answer: According to the firm jurisprudence of the DRC, the principle of contractual stability, a contract can not be dependant on the performances of the player. This is a subjective criterion, which can be easily abused. This is not a valid clause.


3. Just cause and non-payment of the player

A club has not paid a player for 5 months. Does the player have a just cause to terminate the contract

Answer: The player has just cause to terminate the contract. The DRC has well established jurisprudence in which is decided, that just cause at least can be assumpted if the player has not been paid for 3 months. Under special circumstances this also can be 2 months. Before the termination the club has to be put in default advisably in writing by registered mail.


4. Are unilateral options valid?

A contract contains the following option: A contract has been signed for a year. The contract will be automatically extended for one year, unless the club has informed the player 2 months before the termination of the contract, that the contract will end. The salary will be raised automatically with 10% if the contract has to be prolonged. There are different forms of unilateral options.

Answer: This case is not valid. According to the Bueno-Rodriguez-case and more recent in the Almiron-case, the CAS and the DRC decided that a unilateral option of a club is not compliant with the principle of the stability of contracts. However there can be special circumstances at hand that will lead to another outcome.


5. Validity of long contracts with younger players

A 17-year old player has signed a contract for 5 years. After three years, the player signs a contract at another club. In the FIFA regulations is established, that only 3-year contracts are permitted if a player is younger than 18 years old. What is the consequence of the 5-year clause?

Answer: A contract for 5 years is not in compliance with FIFA Regulations. The contract converts to a 3-year contract and expires after the third year. No compensation has to be paid by the new club or the player.


6. Compensation for the education of players

In France a player was educated by a professional club. In the CBA it was arranged that the player had the obligation to sign a contract with his club if offered. This player however did not sign the contract, but decided to go to a club abroad. The club has asks for a compensation for the breach of contract. Is the player’s new club obliged to pay this compensation?

Answer: The European Court of Justice has decided that the player can’t be forced to stay at the club, that educated him if the agreement is not signed. The compensation for training and education has to be fair and a compensation for the real damage the club has suffered. This will be the costs of the education. The FIFA Regulations have a provision for training compensation. This system is likely to meet EU requirements.


7. When are young players allowed to make an international transfer?

A 14-year old boy  plays in his home country. He has been asked to come and play in another country. For his mother a job is arranged. The contract is signed, but the national association refuses to issue the transfer certificate. Does the national association act correctly by not issuing the international certificate?

Answer: In the FIFA Regulations a special provision has been made for young players to protect them from going abroad too young. Only 3 exceptions are made. At first the players are allowed to go abroad if parents move to another country for another reason than football.  The second exception is if the player lives only 50 kilometres or less from the border of the country he wants to play and the new club is domiciled also within 50 kilometres from the border on the other side. The third exception is only applicable for  EU players between 16 and 18 years. The clubs can sign contracts with these players if they are properly housed and get proper football and academic education.

In this case none of the exceptions apply. The national football association was right not issuing the transfer certificate. 


8. Does the contract of a player end if the player is not granted a visa or a working permit?

Answer: According to the FIFA regulations the contract does not end if the player does not receive a working permit or visa. The validity of the contract is not affected by these permits.


9. Are the WADA-doping rules applicable for footballers? 

Answer: Doping is forbidden in sports, also in football. In each country the national doping authority and the national football association have to implement the WADA-rules.


10. Are WADA-whereabouts applicable in football?

Answer: The whereabout-rules apply for all athletes in an elite pool. Also football players have to report their 24/7-activities as well as the availability to undergo doping tests even at home. In professional football FIFPro and its members are pleading not to implement this harsh procedures in football, because in team sports the players can undergo the test at the club. Apart from that, according to FIFA figures doping hardly exists in football. If any players are tested positive, in almost all cases party drugs are involved and no performance enhancing drugs.


11. Is a National Dispute Resolution Chamber (NDRC) always competent to decide on football-related issues in international contracts?

Answer: The NDRC is not always competent on international football-related issues. If a NDRC is established it has to meet the conditions as provided in the  # 1010 and 1129 circular letters of FIFA. 

The most important issue is the composition of the deciding body. It has to be equally composed by players- and clubs-representatives. If the NDRC does not meet these (and other) criteria, the NDRC is not competent to decide in international matters instead of the FIFA DRC. If the case implies an international transfer the FIFA DRC remains the competent body.


12. Is the DRC competent on all football-related international matters?

Answer: The FIFA DRC is not competent to deal in all football-related matters. The FIFA DRC is only competent on matters with an international dimension. Sometimes this can be hard to determine. Furthermore, the FIFA DRC is not competent if the parties have the opportunity to lodge the claim for an approved DRC and no international transfer takes place.