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Two professional football players from Montenegro were recently surprised by their club FC Buducnost Podgorica, which unilaterally terminated its contract with each of the players. It transpired that FC Budocnost had surreptitiously changed an article in the employment contract.

Zoran Banovic and Ilija Radovic both had a contract that was valid until 1 July 2012. Yet both received a letter this summer telling them that they had to leave. FC Buducnost referred to article 8 in their contract, which states that the club could unilaterally terminate the contract with the player during any transfer period.

Neither Banovic nor Radovic were aware of this article. That is not so strange, since this contract was amended on the sly by FC Buducnost. Initially, the club and players had made use of the standard contract that was drawn up based on FIFA and UEFA regulations and can be downloaded from the website of the Montenegro football association FAM.

But it transpired that the contracts signed by the players, the club and the FAM contained a different article 8 from the one used in the standard contract on the website of FAM. Incidentally, neither Banovic nor Radovic had a personal representative during the signing of the contract.

‘Ninety-nine percent of both contracts are the same as the standard contract on the website of FAM’, states Vladimir Krsmanovic, international secretary of the Trade Union of Professional Football Players of Montenegro (TUPFPM).

‘Our lawyers have firmly chosen the side of the players and have argued that the contract that does not match the standard contract cannot be valid’, says Zeljko Janovic (photo), president of TUPFPM. The football association FAM found that the players were right and that the club could not terminate the contracts unilaterally. Both cases are now awaiting a hearing before the Montenegro arbitration committee.

‘I think there are more such cases’, continues president Janovic. ‘We are currently trying to warn players that it is advisable to submit their contract to the lawyers of the players’ trade union before signing it.’

Banovic signed for Buducnost on 21 Feburary 2011, Radovic had signed on 24 January. Keeper Banovic played 6 competition duels in goal, defender Radovic played in 13 matches.

 

Incidentally, the TUPFPM is involved in a second battle with FC Buducnost. Midfielder Nenad Brnovic had his contract, which he had signed a year earlier, amended in January 2011 at the request of the club. FC Buducnost wanted to avoid the high tax payments over the salary of Brnovic, who earns 5,000 euro. The club proposed amending the contract and reducing the salary to 400 euro.

FC Buducnost had promised to pay the remaining salary under the counter in cash to Brnovic. The player agreed, but has since not received 4 monthly salaries and is owed around 20,000 euro.  This case has also been referred to the arbitration committee. The TUPFPM warns all players not to agree to constructions such as those in Brnovic’s amended contract.