Nicolas Weisz
Business & Sports Lawyer / Sport Agent

Soccer

It is important for a foreign sport's player (and his agent accordingly) who is hired by a French club to be aware of the main points of his relationship with the club, in a legal standpoint. Let's make it simple:

The club and the player can only be bound by a fixed term employment contract, from at least 1 year (sport's season) up to 5 years.

it is impossible for one side to unilaterally terminate the contract without any specific grounds to do so. 

Indeed, French law is quite strict and the contrat may only be terminated before the agreed term:

  • in case of mutual agreement,
  • in case of gross misconduct from one party. In such a case, the contract is terminated without notice and without compensation. For example, are considered as gross misconduct : to fight with another member of the team, to grossly harm the reputation of the club, to be positive to an anti-doping/anti-drug test, to abandon his post.
  • in case of a definitive physical incapacity of the player.

Otherwise, the premature termination of the contract is deemed to be abusive and the prejudice suffered must be indemnified. 2 situations shall be distinguished:

  • if the club abusively terminates the contract for no legal reason, the player would be indemnified with the salaries he should have received until the agreed term,
  • if the player abusively terminates the contract, he would have to indemnify the club with an amount to be fixed by the judge, usually lower than the remaining salaries.

It is important to bear in mind that the insufficient performance of a player/coach may never justify the termination of the contract. Only a settlement between the parties could then solve the situation.