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European Super League could lead to employment tribunals

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The proposed European Super League threatens to breach the terms and conditions of players' contracts in the UK.

The controversial news that six English football clubs will form a breakaway league with Spanish clubs Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona and Italian clubs AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan, has shocked football fans and employment lawyers alike.

The league would include English clubs Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspurs.

Both the Premier League and UEFA have warned the clubs will be kicked out of existing domestic and European competitions if they proceed.

The football authorities also said players would be barred from international football, which would mean no player involved in the Super League would be able to play at next year’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Matt Jenkin, partner and head of employment law at Moorcrofts, told HR magazine if players think the new league contradicts their terms of employment with their club, it could led to a mass of employment tribunals.

He said: “If FIFA, UEFA and the Premier League follow through with the threat to ban players who play for clubs in the Super League from representing their country and playing in the Premier League, it is bound to see players looking at their contract with their clubs to see if that amounts to a breach of any express or implied terms.

“If contracts are breached, players will look to see whether or not they can simply walk away from that contract for a fundamental breach.”

Jenkin argued by overlooking clauses in the players contracts, the new league could see employers lose their top talent.

“By way of example, a star striker who has negotiated a very healthy goal scoring bonus in their contract may not be that impressed when they find that their club’s decision will see them limited to the number of games they can play and the amount of goals that they can score,” he said.

Speaking on Sky Sports last night (19 April), pundit and former Manchester United football player Gary Neville said by going ahead with the new league, the six club owners have completely dismissed the feelings of their employees.

He said: “The club owners have not discussed the benefits or merits of their decision to their employees, they’ve been left completely in the dark.

“The decision will only financially benefit the club owners with no thought for their staff.”