Manleys Represents Football Star in Landmark Victory at Court of Arbitration for Sport

Last Updated on: 11th December 2023, 01:24 pm

The Court of Arbitration for Sport, based in Lausanne, Switzerland (‘CAS’), has handed down a conclusive ruling in support of a footballer embroiled in a dispute involving unpaid wages and threats of police harassment from his club. The footballer, internationally renowned, was represented by Manleys Solicitors in his quest to terminate his contract and secure damages. In a detailed appeal process, the CAS affirmed the player’s entitlement to dissolve his contract, ordering the club to compensate him generously.

Manleys acted on behalf of a well-known footballer, celebrated for his goal-scoring talent in several of Europe’s top leagues. His transfer in January 2021, initially met with widespread enthusiasm, rapidly descended into a distressing situation as he was consistently unpaid. This occurred at the country’s most successful club, known for its regular participation in European tournaments like the Champions League. The player’s challenge to the club over non-payment resulted in his relegation to the U21 team. Supported by a leading European agent, he remained steadfast; however, the conflict escalated. He reported to CAS that club officials attempted to force him into signing a contract in a language he didn’t understand. His refusal led to a fine and, incredibly, he was later threatened with police intervention, leading to his decision to flee the country. The club denied all allegations.

Worried about his safety, the player abruptly left the country, apprehensive about interference from local authorities. Having found a safe haven, he and his agent turned to Manleys for help in terminating his contract.

After an initial favourable decision at the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber, the club took the matter to the CAS, seeking compensation for the loss of a transfer fee.

For the appeal, Manleys brought in Steven Flynn, a foremost sports barrister in the UK from Kings Chambers and 2 Temple Gardens, with a track record of success at the CAS. Flynn was assisted by Rosie Knight, a rising figure in the field of sports law (Kings Chambers).

The club’s appeal centred on whether the player had the right to leave the country and terminate his contract without prior notice. They argued for a 14-day notice as per the contract, to allow time to rectify any issues, or a 15-day notice under FIFA RSTP for terminations due to wage non-payment. They sought compensation for the loss of the player’s registration, involving the player’s new club in the proceedings.

Employing a sophisticated mix of Swiss law, relevant at the CAS, the club’s national law, and prior CAS rulings, the player effectively argued his right to terminate for just cause. While Swiss law prioritises forewarning employers, the CAS ruled it wasn’t an absolute requirement for just cause termination. The CAS established that the player had adequately notified the club of the contract breach by highlighting unpaid wages. The CAS also refuted the club’s claim that it could demote the player to the U21 team. The overall conduct of the club justified the player’s termination of the contract.

The CAS’s substantial decision required the club to pay the player’s due salary until the termination date, compensate for reduced earnings at his new club, and pay an additional three months’ salary as compensation due to the salary-related termination. A costs order was also made against the club.

Steven Flynn, lead counsel before the CAS observed that, ‘This case was complicated by the different national laws and regulatory regimes engaged. The club sought to exploit apparent inconsistencies between the regimes to avoid responsibility for its actions. Thankfully we, as a team, were able to address the multi-jurisdictional issues and ensure that justice was done for player.’

Mark Manley, Managing Director at Manleys said: ‘I’m delighted for the player and his agent. Our team couldn’t believe what we were hearing when the player recounted his ordeal. He had been excited to join the most successful club in this country but it quickly turned into a nightmare. His decision to flea the country was more akin to a James Bond’ movie than a footballing issue! The player was one of the most impressive witnesses I have seen in Court. His agent, Roberto De Fanti, was an incredible support to the player throughout this ordeal, as was his new club. I’d like to thank them, my colleagues at Manleys, and Steven Flynn and Rosie Knight of Kings’ Chambers for their skills, expertise, tenacity and bringing a very successful conclusion to this long-running saga. Our website boasts that “we are in the results business” – I’m very pleased for this client that he’s ended up a fantastic and emphatic result.”

Share this article
Shareable URL
Prev Post

Razorlight Confirmed as Main Act for DocksFest 2024 in Cleethorpes

Next Post

Bearded Fishermen Release Charity Single to Support Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Read next