F.I.F.A. – Players’ Status Committee / Commissione per lo Status dei Calciatori – coach disputes / controversie allenatori (2020-2021) – fifa.com – atto non ufficiale – Decision 11 August 2020

Decision of the
Single Judge of the Players' Status Committee
passed on 11 August 2020,
regarding an employment-related dispute concerning the Coach A
BY:
Roy Vermeer (the Netherlands), Single Judge of the PSC
CLAIMANT / COUNTER-RESPONDENT:
Coach A, Country A
Represented by
RESPONDENT / COUNTER-CLAIMANT:
Football Association B, Country B
Represented by
I. FACTS OF THE CASE
1) On 22 May 2019, the Country A Coach A (hereinafter also referred to as the Coach or the
Claimant/Counter-Respondent) and the Football Association B (hereinafter also referred to as
the Football Association or the Respondent/Counter-Claimant) concluded an employment
contract, valid as from the date of signature until “the date of the Final of the World Cup 2022
in Qatar”.
2) In accordance with the contract, the Coach would receive an yearly remuneration of EUR
2,250,000 “from 02/06/2019 until 01/06/2022, which totals an amount of EUR 7,875,000 net for
the entire duration of this agreement” (cf. contract below). Such remuneration is payable in 4
equal instalments of EUR 562,500 per year, except for the last year, in which only 2 instalments
in the aforementioned amount are due.
3) In detail, clause IV of the contract stipulates the following:
“ARTICLE IV: Undertaking and Commitments of the Football Association B and Terms of
Payments
1) The Football Association undertakes to pay Head Coach a yearly sum (hereinafter the "Basic
Compensation") of EUR 2.250.000€ NET, from 02/06/2019 until 01/06/2022, which totals an
amount of 7.875.000€ (seven million height hundred and seventy five thousand Euros) NET for the
entire duration of this Agreement.
The mentioned amounts are NET of taxation. Head Coach will be submitted to the Country B
taxation. The Football Association will directly pay the Head Coach taxes in Country B and pay
NET salary to the head coach. The Football Association will provide the Country B taxation
certificate to the Head Coach, as prove that all taxes have been payed correctly in Country B;
2) The Basic NET Compensation shall be paid by the Football Association to the Head Coach is as
follows:
Payment number Payment date Reference NET Amount
Payment 1 02/06/2019 25% for the 1st year 562.500€
Payment 2 01/09/2019 25% for the 1st year 562.500€
Payment 3 01/12/2019 25% for the 1st year 562.500€
Payment 4 01/03/2020 25% for the 1st year 562.500€
Total payment of the 1st year: 2.250.000€ (two million two hundred and fifty thousand Euros)
Payment 5 02/06/2020 25% for the 2nd year 562.500€
Payment 6 01/09/2020 25% for the 2nd year 562.500€
Payment 7 01/12/2020 25% for the 2nd year 562.500€
Payment 8 01/03/2021 25% for the 2nd year 562.500€
Total payment of the 2nd year: 2.250.000€ (two million two hundred and fifty thousand Euros)
Payment 9 01/06/2021 25% for the 3rd year 562.500€
Payment 10 01/09/2021 25% for the 3rd year 562.500€
Payment 11 01/12/2021 25% for the 3rd year 562.500€
Payment 12 01/02/2022 25% for the 3rd year 562.500€
Total payment of the 3rd year: 2.250.000€ (two million two hundred and fifty thousand Euros)
Payment 14 01/04/2022 50% for the 4th year 562.500€
Payment 15 01/06/2022 50% for the 4th year 562.500€
Total payment of the 4th year: 1.125.000€ (one million one hundred and twenty five thousand
Euros)
Considering the above, total payment base in this agreement is: 7.875.000€ (seven million height
hundred and seventy five thousand Euros) NET
3) In addition to the Basic Compensation referred to above in paragraph I of article IV, the Football
Association shall pay to the Head Coach the following incentive bonuses during the term of this
Agreement:
a- Bonuses for winning the World Cup 2022 in Qatar qualifying matches, which must be 6.000€
(six thousand EUROS) NET per win and 3.000€ (three thousand EUROS) NET per draw. This bonus
should be received by the Coach before the next following official game;
b- The Football Association shall pay to the Head Coach 10% of the proceeds the Football
Association shall receive from FIFA for such qualification.
c- During World Cup 2022 in Qatar the Football Association shall pay to the Head Coach 10% of
the proceeds the Football Association shall receive from FIFA during the competition until the end
of the participation of the National Football A Team in the World Cup 2022 Qatar.
4- The Football Association shall provide free of charge transportation and accommodations to
Head Coach consistent with its position as an internationally renowned professional Head Coach,
including, when travelling in his capacity of Head Coach, business tickets for airfare and first-class
hotel rooms.
5) The Head Coach shall have the right of 6 (six) weeks of vacation per year with written permission
of the Football Association, which shall be scheduled as to not interfere with the commitments of
the National Football A Team.
6) The Head Coach shall also be entitled to 5 (five) business class return airplane tickets for each
year valid for City C – Head Coach home – City C.
7) The Football Association shall provide to the Head Coach for the duration of this Agreement,
with the best health and life policy insurance available in Country B.
8) The Football Association shall provide the Head Coach, free of charge, proper accommodation,
facilities for the duration of this Agreement. The Parties agree on the following:
(i) The Head Coach wiII be housed at a decent Hotel with the accommodations standards in
overseas.
9) All the expenses with regard to the taxation of Country B government, for Basic Compensation,
bonuses, health insurance, certification of employment, Visa and any other amounts that shall be
or may be paid to the Head Coach, shall be borne and paid by the Federation. The Football
Association shall provide to the Head Coach any and all documentation as may be required by the
competent public authorities of his country of residence to avoid double taxation and any other
tax or other related expenses.
10) The Head Coach has the right to appoint 3 (three) foreign assistant coaches (the "Assistant
Coaches"). Each of the Assistant Coaches will sign separate contracts with the Football Association
for the agreed rendering of services. The Head Coach shall be entitled to appoint, upon agreement
of the President of the Football Association, additional experts and/or coaches and/or assistant
coaches, if the Head Coach so requires for a temporary time period, such additional experts and/or
coaches to be paid on a daily basis.
11) The Football Association will employ the Team manager/head of the delegation, Executive
Manager, Translator, Media Officer, Physician, Masseur, Physiotherapist and other required staffs
for the National A team.
12) Except if otherwise indicated by the Head Coach, at its sole discretion, to the Football
Association, all the payments to the Head Coach by the Football Association under this Agreement
shall be made by the Football Association by way of a bank transfer of free, clear and immediately
available funds to a foreign bank account of the Head Coach to be informed in written to the
Football Association Administrative Services, as his residence statute will be of temporary resident
in Country B:”
4) Furthermore, clause V of the contract stipulates the following:
“ARTICLE V: Termination
Both parties respect the stability and international recognized principles and are obliged to execute
the articles of this contract.
1) If the Head Coach will terminate the contract based on an acceptable and reasonable reason
and in accordance with the FIFA and CAS codes and will be able to prove it, he will be eligible to
receive three months fixed salary (or a certain fee).
2) If the Federation will terminate the contract based on acceptable and reasonable matter and in
accordance with FIFA and CAS codes and will be able to prove it, then the Head Coach must be
eligible to receive three months fixed salary (or a certain fee) from the Football Association as the
compensation.
3) If the National A team of Country B will not be qualified for the World Cup 2022 this contract
will be breached automatically in the end of the qualification fase and if there would be any
postponed and unpaid fee(s) concerned with Head Coach, he will be deserved just to receive the
same amount and will not be allowed to have any other claim.
-Notices:
1- Both parties are obliged to observe all articles and fulfil this contract.
2- Each party can send the official notice if the other breaches the articles of the contract.
3- In text of the notice, the reason of the notice and the way of the compensation shall be notified
within a logical and reasonable time”.
5) The contract was terminated unilaterally by the Coach. The date of termination and the
legality of it are disputed by the parties.
II. PROCEEDINGS BEFORE FIFA
A. Position of the Claimant/Counter-Respondent
6) On 21 January 2020, the Coach lodged a claim against the Football Association for breach of
contract, requesting the Players’ Status Committee to:
“(i) Order the Football Association B to pay to Coach A an amount of EUR 6,265,875.23 plus
interest at 5% per annum as of 2 November 2019.
(ii) All costs of these proceedings shall be borne by the Football Association B”.
7) The aforementioned amount is broken down as follows:
“Residual Value of Contract
o EUR 7,875,000.00 as salary payments
o EUR 106,000.00 as bonus payments
Legal Fees (agreed to be covered by the Football Association)
o EUR 15,000.00
Accrued Costs
o EUR 7,375.23 as costs incurred to recover the salary payments
Minus Payments Credited to the Claim
o EUR 1,687,500.00 (lump sum payment to the account in Country D)
o EUR 15,000.00 (legal fees deposited on the account in Country D))
o EUR 35,000.00 (remaining amount on the account in Country D)
Total: EUR 6,265,875.23”
8) The amount of EUR 106,000 as bonuses is broken down as follows:
o EUR 6,000 as outstanding part of the EUR 12,000 bonus due to him as per the 2019
World Cup Qualification matches, as in art. IV par. 3 a) of the contract;
o EUR 100,000 as an estimation of the bonuses he would have received throughout the
contract, had it not been terminated.
9) The amount of EUR 7,375.23 as accrued costs is broken down as follows:
“EUR 453.33 as transfer commission
EUR 4,564.00 as transfer fee
EUR 464.49 for the transfer of EUR 100,000.00 to ING
EUR 1,893.41 for travel tickets to City E
Total Costs: EUR 7,375.23”
10) In his claim, the Coach explains that the Football Association never made any salary payments
to him at all, in spite of several default notices and reminders sent to it over a period of several
months, as from 28 July 2019. In this respect, he provided copies of his letters to the Football
Association dated 28 July, 30 September, 16 October, 18 October and 22 October 2019.
11) On 1 November 2019, after various previous default notices and extensions granted to the
Football Association to pay, the Coach unilaterally terminated the contract.
12) The Coach claims that even after the termination, he tried to find together with the Football
Association an amicable solution to their dispute. In this respect, advised by the Football
Association, he travelled to Country D to open a bank account in that country, via which the
Football Association was supposed to make the due payments. Even though an amount of
approximately EUR 2,000,000 was indeed transferred by the Football Association to the
Country D account, the Coach claims he is not able to transfer the amount to his bank account
in Continent F and can only make insignificant cash withdrawals when he is in Country D.
13) In this particular, the coach explains that he had “agreed to a slightly reduced lump sum
payment of EUR 2,000,000, but at the condition that such payment would cover the following
elements, as it had been discussed already earlier:
o A lump sum to compensate Coach A for the work rendered so far (EUR 1,687,500.00);
o A lump sum to compensate Coach G (Assistant Coach) for the work rendered so far (EUR
112,500.00);
o A lump sum to compensate the goalkeeper coach of Coach A’s staff (EUR 150,000.00);
o An amount of EUR 15,000.00 to cover Coach A’s legal fees;
o The remaining amount of EUR 35,000.00 would be credited against separate future
claims of Coach A (e.g. against the additional claim for compensation for breach of
contract).
In other words, it was explicitly agreed that the payment of EUR 2,000,000.00 would not
constitute an advance payment”.
14) According to exhibit nr. C65 of the claim, three deposits were effectively made on the Country
D bank account of the Coach in the following manner: EUR 500,000 on 8 November 2019,
EUR 700,000 on 11 November 2019 and EUR 800,000 on 11 November 2019.
15) In addition, the Coach claims that in spite of his efforts to amicably solve the dispute, he was
constantly faced with empty promises and the alleged bad faith of the Football Association.
In particular, he mentions that the Football Association has falsified a correspondence, allegedly coming from the Coach’s legal representatives, which was however discovered,
since the “email address of the Legal Counsel for Coach A was poorly misspelled”.
16) Thus, the Coach concludes that the Football Association blatantly disrespected its contractual
obligations towards him, and he was left with no other option than to seek legal redress at
FIFA. He also claims to be entitled to claim compensation as per art. 17 of the RSTP, since the
compensation clause in the contract is disproportionate and cannot be considered.
17) In this respect, the Coach explained that “as a starting point, the residual value of the contract
still due to Coach A is still the total value of the contract, i.e. EUR 7,875,000.00”. He adds to
that EUR 106,000.00 as bonus payments, of which EUR 6,000 are outstanding and EUR 100,000
are estimated future bonuses, EUR 15,000 as legal fees allegedly agreed to be covered by the
Football Association, plus EUR 7,375.23 as costs incurred to recover the salary payments. He
then deducts from the compensation claimed “the full amount of EUR 1,687,500.00 […] (i.e.
the lump sum payment deposited by the Football Association in Country D) […], EUR 15,000.00
(deposited in Country D) and the residual amount of EUR 35,000.00 (remainder on the account
in Country D)”, coming to a final claimed amount of EUR 6,265,875.23.
18) The amount of EUR 1,687,500 equals EUR 2,000,000 minus EUR 112,500 and EUR 150,000
payable to the assistant coach and the goalkeeper coach (cf. point 13 above) as well as EUR
15,000 and 35,000 (cf. points 7 and 13 above). The coach indicated that the aforementioned
deductions have been confirmed by the parties in their letters of 7 November 2019,
respectively exhibit nr. C37 of the claim as the letter of the coach and exhibit nr. C38 of the
claim as the acceptance of said terms by the Football Association.
B. Position of the Respondent/Counter-Claimant and counterclaim
19) In its reply to the claim, the Football Association firstly contested the minutes provided by the
Coach of the various meetings allegedly held between the parties to find an amicable
settlement to their dispute. In this respect, the Football Association claims that none of these
documents were signed by it. In addition, the Football Association held that on 29 October
2019, the Coach and staff suspended their work and on 1 November 2019 the Coach sent his
termination letter, in spite of having been informed on 31 October 2019 that the Football
Association had paid an amount of EUR 2,000,000 to him corresponding to the first 3
instalments. In this respect, the documents enclosed to the Football Association’s reply
consist of bank receipts in Country D language only. The Football Association also claims that
such considerable payment was made despite the financial difficulties of the Federation and
the sanctions imposed on Country B.
20) The Football Association claims that after the payment the Coach resumed his activities in
view of the upcoming qualifier against Country I planned for 14 November 2019. Thus, the
Football Association concluded that it could “reasonably expect that the employment contact
was still running in accordance with the principle of contractual stability”. In this respect, the
Football Association deemed that it had fulfilled its obligation by paying the Coach on his
“Continent F” bank account, as provided for in the contract. Finally, the Football Association strongly rejected any forgery allegations related to the email mentioned above and
underlined that the new Coach was only hired on 6 February 2020.
21) The Football Association claims that in view of the subsequent absence of the Coach “from
the territory of Country B” as from an unspecified dated, it sent him 3 warnings on 9 and 13
December 2019 and on 2 January 2020 expressing its concerns about this absence and “some
breaches of the employment contract”, which it believed to have been resumed, annulling the
termination of 1 November 2019. Therefore, the Football Association deems that the
Claimant’s claim of 21 January 2020 should be considered as the date of termination without
just cause of the contract by the Coach.
22) Consequently, the Football Association lodged a counterclaim against the coach requesting
the payment of EUR 6,187,500 as compensation for breach of contract, plus 5% interest p.a.
as from 21 January 2020. In the alternative, should the coach’s claim be accepted, the Football
Association requested the compensation clause to be applied to the present case, limiting
the compensation due to the Coach to EUR 562,500. In the further alternative, the Football
Association requested that any compensation payable to the Coach should be mitigated with
any new employment contracts subsequently concluded by him.
C. Reply of the Claimant/Counter-Respondent on the counterclaim
23) In reply to the counterclaim, the Coach held that the Football Association did not show any
good faith in the process of handling their issues. Despite the Coach’s several reminders, the
Football Association only sent its first letter to him on 9 December 2019, i.e. “more than one
month after termination”. In addition, the Coach underlined that the Football Association
failed to provide evidence of its objection to having manipulated the email of the Coach’s
lawyer. The Coach also noted that the Football Association had never before disputed the
content of the minutes of their meetings and that it first referred to any possible breach by
the Coach in its correspondence dated 9-13 December 2019.i.e. after his termination dated 1
November 2019.
24) In continuation, the Coach insisted that he had not been paid any remuneration as from May
2019 until termination, in spite of having put the Football Association in default several times
and of having granted it 4 extensions of the original 15-day deadlines, the last one expiring
on 30 October 2019.
25) The Coach also strongly rejected the Football Association’s allegations according to which
"the parties were still bound by its contractual obligations” with the “expectation that the
employment relationship between the parties be continued" and pointed out that his
correspondence dated 12 November 2019 by means of which he clearly explained that he
would accept to accompany the team for its next match (against Country I on 14 November
2019) was to be understood as a gesture of sportsmanship and that a new employment
contract would then be negotiated.
26) Moreover, the Coach insisted that he cannot access the money deposited by the Football
Association on his Country D bank account, which was in any case not done in accordance
with the contract, since this account was not “a freely disposable account in Continent F”.
27) Based on the foregoing, the Coach deems that he terminated the employment contract with
just cause on 1 November 2019 and requested that the Football Association’s counterclaim
be rejected. He reiterates the terms of his initial claim in full, requests that all costs of
proceeding to be at the Football Association’s charge and reserves his right to further amend
his claim.
D. Contractual situation of the coach
28) The Coach claims not to have found new employment after the termination of his contract
with the Football Association.
III. CONSIDERATIONS OF THE SINGLE JUDGE OF THE PLAYERS’ STATUS
COMMITTEE
A. Competence
29) The Single Judge of the Players’ Status Committee (hereinafter also referred to as: the Single
Judge) first analysed whether he was competent to deal with the matter at hand. In this
respect, he took note that the present matter was submitted to FIFA on 21 January 2020.
Consequently, the November 2019 edition of the Rules governing the procedures of the
Players’ Status Committee and the Dispute Resolution Chamber hereinafter: the Procedural
Rules) is applicable to the matter at hand (cf. art. 21 of the Procedural Rules).
30) Subsequently, the Single Judge referred to art. 3 par. 1 and 2 of the Procedural Rules and
confirmed that in accordance with art. 23 par. 1 and 3 in combination with art. 22 lit. c) of the
Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, he shall adjudicate on an employmentrelated
dispute between a club or an association and a coach that has an international
dimension.
31) As a consequence, the Single Judge is the competent body to decide on the present litigation
involving a Country A Coach and the Football Association B.
B. Applicable legal framework
32) The Single Judge analysed which edition of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of
Players should be applicable as to the substance of the matter. In this respect, it confirmed
that in accordance with art. 26 par. 1 and 2 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, and considering that the present claim was lodged on 21 January 2020, the January
2020 edition of said regulations is applicable to the matter at hand as to the substance.
33) His competence and the applicable regulations having been established, and entering into
the substance of the matter, the Single Judge started his analysis by acknowledging the facts
of the case and the arguments of the parties as well as the documents contained in the file.
The Single Judge, however, emphasised that in the following considerations he will refer only
to the facts, arguments and documentary evidence which he considered pertinent for the
assessment of the matter at hand.
C. Burden of proof
34) The Single Judge recalled the basic principle of burden of proof, as stipulated in art. 12
par. 3 of the Procedural Rules, according to which a party claiming a right on the basis of an
alleged fact shall carry the respective burden of proof.
D. Merits of the dispute
I. Main legal discussion
35) The Single Judge wished to recall in this respect the main elements that gave rise to the
present dispute.
36) In this respect, the Single Judge noted that it remained undisputed by the parties that the
contract was terminated unilaterally by the Coach. The parties however dispute the date of
termination and whether the coach had in fact a just cause to prematurely terminate the
contract.
37) While the Coach claims that he terminated the contract on 1 November 2019 with just cause,
as he had not been paid at all since the beginning of the contract, in spite of his several
reminders and extension of the deadlines granted for payment, the Football Association
deems that the Coach terminated the contract without just cause on 21 January 2020, when
he lodged his claim in front of FIFA. In particular, the Football Association understands that
the termination of 1 November 2019 was withdrawn by the Coach and the contract resumed.
Furthermore, the Football Association indicates that the amount owed to the Coach was fully
paid to him on 1 November 2019.
38) In view of the foregoing, the Single Judge deemed that he would first have to establish the
actual date of termination of the contract by the Coach, subsequently address matter of the
legality of the termination and finally decide upon the consequences of it.
II. Considerations
39) As to the date of termination of the contract by the coach, the Single Judge deemed it
appropriate to closely analyse the content of the coach’s letter of 12 November 2019 (cf.
exhibit C39 to the coach’s claim), which the Football Association interprets as a withdrawal of
the termination and proof of resumption of the contract.
40) Be means of the aforementioned correspondence, the Coach A and Coach G stated inter alia
that:
“As you know, as a sign of good faith, Coach A finally travelled to City E last week to provide
necessary logistical support for the payment of the overdue amounts to him and his staff. The only
purpose of this travel was to assist you to open a bank account in Country D, so that the required
transfer could finally be made.
However, contrary to previous assurances, on Friday 8 November 2019, only a partial payment of
EUR 500,000.00 was made to the bank account which Coach A was obliged to open in Country D.
While we are thankful for your efforts, you will understand that this was, once more, disappointing.
As you are furthermore aware, because the bank transfer took considerable time, it was then too
late for Coach A to travel back from City E to City H.
You then insisted that Coach A would still accompany his team for the very crucial match of 14
November 2019 against Country I and that he should travel from City E to City C, in spite of the
fact that his employment contract had been validly terminated on 1 November 2019.
As you know, as a sign of respect towards you personally and in a spirit of sportsmanship, Coach
A then accepted to travel to City C and to support his players, under reservation of all his rights.
[…]
Furthermore, for the sake of good order, I can confirm again on behalf of Coach A that he will, as
a gesture of sportsmanship, accompany his team for the next match of the Country B National
Team.
However, as it was agreed previously and then discussed again with you, a meeting must be held
immediately after this match. The purpose of this meeting will be, as you know, to discuss whether
a new employment contract can be concluded under conditions that are acceptable for Coach A.
However, should this meeting not be successful and should it not be possible to conclude a new
employment contract, we will take all necessary legal steps to enforce the rights of our client, in
particular all the rights that have arisen out of the justified termination of the employment contract
issued by both Coach A and Coach G on 1 November 2019.
Finally, for good order, my clients fully adhere to their legal position and they maintain all their
statements made so far. All our client's rights accordingly remain reserved”. (emphasis added)
41) Based on the clear content of the letter quoted above, the Single Judge concluded that by no
means the Coach intended to withdraw his termination and resume the employment contract.
On the contrary, he clearly states that he would accompany the team once more out of a
sheer “gesture of sportsmanship”, after which the terms of a new employment contract would
be discussed. Should these negotiations be unfruitful, he would take the necessary legal steps
and claim his alleged rights, arising from the termination. Thus, the Single Judge could
establish that the contract was in fact terminated by the Coach on 1 November 2019.
42) Subsequently, the Single Judge analysed whether the Coach had indeed had a just cause to
terminate the contract on 1 November 2019.
43) In this respect, he noted on the one hand that the Coach claims not to have received any
remuneration from the Football Association from the start of the contract until the date of
termination. While he is acknowledging receipt of the amount of EUR 2,000,000 from the
Football Association, he points out that such amount was paid only after the termination of
the contract and should have no influence on the analysis of whether he terminated the
contract with or without just cause. On the other hand, the Single Judge noted that the
Football Association does not dispute that the Coach’s remuneration was never paid before
1 November 2019, but claims that on that very date the payment of EUR 2,000,000 was made
into the Coach’s Country D bank account. Thus, the Football Association argues that it paid
all its debts towards the coach and the latter did not have a just cause to terminate the
contract.
44) For the sake of completeness, the Single Judge was eager to remind the parties that only a
breach or misconduct which is of a certain severity justifies the termination of a contract
without prior warning. In other words, only when there are objective criteria which do not
reasonably permit to expect a continuation of the employment relationship between the
parties, a contract may be terminated prematurely. A premature termination of an
employment contract can always only be an ultima ratio.
45) Furthermore, the Single Judge also referred to art. 12 par. 3 of the Procedural Rules and
pointed out that the Football Association bore the burden of proving that the Coach’s
remuneration, albeit undisputedly late, was paid before the termination of the contract, i.e.
before 1 November 2019 as previously established.
46) After a thorough analysis of the documentation on file, the Single Judge noted that while the
Football Association claims to have paid EUR 2,000,000 to the coach on 1 November 2019, it
only provided untranslated bank statements in evidence of this allegation, which cannot be
taken into account. Also, the Single Judge noted that the coach provided translated evidence
that the amount of EUR 2,000,000 was paid to him in three different instalments in the
following manner: EUR 500,000 on 8 November 2019, EUR 700,000 on 11 November 2019
and EUR 800,000 on 11 November 2019, i.e. after the termination of the contract by the Coach
on 1 November 2019.
47) While referring to the ultima ratio nature of the termination, the Single Judge pointed out
that it remained undisputed by the parties that the Coach had not been paid his remuneration
from the very beginning of the contract up until the moment of termination, i.e. for more
than 5 months. Furthermore, the Single Judge noted that up until 1 November 2019, the
Coach should have received the total amount of EUR 1,125,000, consisting of two installments
of EUR 562,500 each, due on 2 June 2019 and on 1 September 2019. The Single Judge also
noted that, in spite of the Coach’s repeated reminders of 28 July, 30 September, 16 October,
18 October and 22 October 2019, no remuneration was paid to him before the termination.
48) Bearing in mind the foregoing, the Single Judge concluded that the coach had a just cause
to unilaterally terminate the contract on 1 November 2019, as a considerable part of his
remuneration had remained outstanding for more than 5 months, in spite of his several
reminders. Under these circumstances, the continuation of the employment relationship and
the compliance with the contract could not reasonably be expected.
49) Therefore, the Football Association had breached the employment contract without just cause
and would bear the financial consequences of such.
50) Before however dealing with the issue of the amount of compensation due to the Coach by
the Football Association, the Single Judge first addressed the issue of the unpaid
remuneration at the moment the contract was terminated by the Coach.
51) In this respect, he noted that the Coach should have received up until the 1 November 2019
the total amount of EUR 1,125,000. While the amounts paid by the Football Association after
1 November 2019 do not influence the analysis of the just cause, they should be taken into
account for the calculation of the amount still due to the Coach by the Football Association.
52) At this point, the Single Judge deemed it appropriate to point out that, even though the total
amount of EUR 2,000,000 was paid to the Coach’s Country D bank account, in order to
established what was indeed related to his own employment contract, he deducted from it
the amounts of EUR 112,500 due to Coach G (Assistant Coach), EUR 150,000 due to the
goalkeeper coach, and the further amounts of EUR 15,000 and EUR 35,000. The amount of
EUR 2,000,000 and its breakdown are established in a letter of the coach to the Football
Association of 7 November 2019 (cf. exhibit C.37 of claim) and confirmed by the Football
Association in writing on the same dated (cf. exhibit C.38 of claim).
53) Thus, considering that the Coach acknowledged receipt of the total amount of EUR 1,737,500
from the Football Association, consisting of EUR 1,687,500 as lump sum payment deposited
by Football Association in Country D, EUR 15,000 also deposited in Country D and EUR
35,000.00 as remainder on the account in Country D, the Single Judge concluded that all the
outstanding remuneration has been paid to the Coach, albeit too late.
54) As to the claim for EUR 7,375.23 as accrued costs in the recovery of his financial dues, the
Single Judge deemed that the Football Association cannot be held accountable for the accrued costs the Coach allegedly incurred to recover salary payments from his bank in
Football Association.
55) As to the claimed outstanding bonus of EUR 6,000, the Single Judge while referring to the
principle of the burden of proof noted that the coach only presented as evidence the playing
schedule of the qualifiers for the 2022 FWC, but failed to provide proof that the team had
won the relevant match. Therefore, the Single Judge concluded that such request of the
Coach must be rejected due to a lack of evidence.
56) As to the amount of compensation, the Single Judge first verified whether the contract
contained a clause by means of which the parties had agreed beforehand on a specific
amount of compensation to be paid to the damaged party in case of a breach of contract
without just cause by the counterparty. In this respect, the Single Judge noted that clause V.1
of the employment contract stipulated the following: “If the head coach will terminate the
contract based on an acceptable and reasonable reason and in accordance with the FIFA and
CAS codes and will be able to prove it, he will be eligible to receive three months fixed salary
(or a certain fee)”. (emphasis added)
57) The Single Judge further referred to clause V.2 of the employment contract which stipulates
that: “If the Federation will terminate the contract based on acceptable and reasonable matter
and in accordance with FIFA and CAS codes and will be able to prove it, then the head coach
must be eligible to receive three months fixed salary (or a certain fee) from the Football
Association as the compensation.”
58) First, the Single Judge wished to underline that it is common that for a compensation clause
to be applied, the clause must be clear and unambiguous. The Single Judge finds that even
though clause V1 contains a reference to three months of salary, the additional words of ‘or
a certain fee’ lead the Single Judge to conclude that it remains unclear what the parties
intended to agree upon as the amount of compensation. The Single Judge further notes that
the Football Association has also not explained in any way how those additional worlds (“or
a certain fee”) were intended to apply or should be interpreted.
59) What is more, if the reasoning of the Football Association were to be followed in the sense
that the relevant provisions stipulated that the Coach was only entitled to 3 monthly salaries,
then it appears that the parties agreed that - irrespective of whether the Coach (art. V1) or
the Football Association (art. V2) would terminate the employment contract with just cause -
, the Coach would receive 3 monthly salaries. Yet, the consequences of the situation in which
the Coach would terminate the contract without just cause had not been provided for in the
contract, which has led the Football Association to claim in these proceedings the amount of
EUR 6,187,500 as compensation for breach of contract (corresponding to the residual value
of the contract).
60) In this respect, the Single Judge referred to the well-established jurisprudence of the PSC that
in order for a compensation clause to be valid, it needs to be reciprocal. In the present matter,
and hypothetically applying the contractual provisions as interpreted by the Football
Association, this would mean that should the coach terminate the contract with just cause (which is the equivalent of the Football Association terminating without just cause), the
Football Association would be ordered to pay 3 monthly salaries to the Coach, whereas would
the Coach have terminated the contract without just cause, he would be liable to pay the
remaining value of the contract to the Football Association. The Single Judge finds this a clear
and disproportionate imbalance in rights and obligations which, in accordance with
jurisprudence of the Single Judge, can therefore not be applied.
61) In view of the above as well as the unclear manner in which such clause is drafted – “three
months fixed salary (or a certain fee)” – the Single Judge established that for the calculation
of the amount of compensation due to the coach by the association he would apply the
longstanding jurisprudence of the Players’ Status Committee.
62) In this context, he noted that the residual value of contract is EUR 6,750,000, consisting of 2
instalments of EUR 562,500 each for the remainder of the first year, EUR 2,250,000 for the full
second year, EUR 2,250,000 for the full third year and EUR 1,125,000 for the full fourth year.
63) The amount of EUR 100,000 requested by the Coach as future bonuses cannot be taken into
account for the calculation of compensation, as it is merely hypothetical.
64) The amount of EUR 612,500 has already been paid by the association and acknowledged by
the Coach (EUR 1,737,500 paid in total minus EUR 1,125,000 due as outstanding
remuneration) and must therefore be deducted from the residual value of the contract,
coming to an amount of EUR 6,137,500.
65) As the Coach did not manage to mitigate his damages by signing a new employment
contract, the final amount of compensation due to him by the Football Association is EUR
6,137,500, to which an interest rate of 5% p.a. shall apply as from the date of claim, i.e. 21
January 2020.
66) Finally, as to the forgery of the email by the Football Association, the Single Judge decided
to forward said element to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee for their consideration.
III. Conclusion
67) As a result of the aforementioned, the Single Judge decided to partially accepted the claim
of the Coach and award him the amount of EUR 6,137,500 as compensation for breach of
contract plus 5% interest p.a. as from 21 January 2020 until the date of effective payment.
68) The counterclaim of the Football Association is rejected.
IV. Costs
69) Lastly, the Single Judge referred to art. 25 par. 2 of the Regulations in combination with art.
18 par. 1 of the Procedural Rules, according to which in the proceedings before the Players’
Status Committee and the Single Judge, costs in the maximum amount of CHF 25,000 are
levied. The costs are to be borne in consideration of the parties’ degree of success in the
proceedings and are normally to be paid by the unsuccessful party.
70) In this respect, the Single Judge reiterated that the claim of the Coach is partially accepted to
a considerable extent and that the Football Association is the party at fault. Therefore, the
Single Judge decided that the Football Association should bear the costs of the current
proceedings in front of FIFA.
71) Furthermore, the Single Judge referred to art. 18 par. 1 ii. of the Procedural Rules of June
2020, according to which “for any claim or counter-claim lodged prior to 10 June 2020 which
has yet to be decided at the time of this temporary amendment, the maximum amount of
procedural costs levied shall be equivalent to any advance of costs paid”.
72) Consequently, the Single Judge concluded that the maximum amount of costs of the
proceedings corresponds to CHF 5,000.
73) In conclusion, the Single Judge determined that the amount of CHF 5,000 has to be paid by
the Football Association to cover the costs of the present proceedings.
***
IV.DECISION OF THE SINGLE JUDGE OF THE PLAYERS’ STATUS COMMITTEE
1) The claim of the Claimant / Counter-Respondent, Coach A, is partially accepted.
2) The Respondent / Counter-Claimant, the Football Association, has to pay to the Claimant /
Counter-Respondent EUR 6,137,500 as compensation for breach of contract plus 5% interest
p.a. as from 21 January 2020 until the date of effective payment.
3) Any further claims of the Claimant / Counter-Respondent are rejected.
4) The counterclaim of the Respondent / Counter-Claimant is rejected.
5) The Claimant / Counter-Respondent is directed to immediately and directly inform the
Respondent / Counter-Claimant of the relevant bank account to which the Respondent /
Counter-Claimant must pay the due amounts.
6) The Respondent / Counter-Claimant shall provide evidence of payment of the due amounts
in accordance with this decision to psdfifa@fifa.org, duly translated, if applicable, into one
of the official FIFA languages (English, French, German, Spanish).
7) In the event that the amounts due, plus interest as established above are not paid by the
Respondent / Counter-Claimant within 30 days, as from the notification by the Claimant /
Counter-Respondent of the relevant bank details to the Respondent / Counter-Claimant, the
following consequences shall arise:
1. In the event that the payable amounts as per in this decision are not paid within the
granted deadline, the present matter shall be submitted, upon request, to the FIFA
Disciplinary Committee.
8) The final costs of the proceedings in the amount of CHF 5,000 are to be paid by the
Respondent / Counter-Claimant to FIFA (cf. note relating to the payment of the procedural
costs below).
For the Single Judge of the Players’ Status Committee:
Emilio García Silvero
Chief Legal & Compliance Officer
NOTE RELATED TO THE APPEAL PROCEDURE:
According to article 58 par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes, this decision may be appealed against before
the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) within 21 days of receipt of the notification of this
decision (cf. CAS Directives at Legal.FIFA.com).
NOTE RELATED TO THE PUBLICATION:
FIFA may publish this decision. For reasons of confidentiality, FIFA may decide, at the request of a
party within five days of the notification of the motivated decision, to publish an anonymised or a
redacted version (cf. article 20 of the Procedural Rules).
CONTACT INFORMATION:
Fédération Internationale de Football Association
FIFA-Strasse 20 P.O. Box 8044 Zurich Switzerland
www.fifa.com | legal.fifa.com | psdfifa@fifa.org | T: +41 (0)43 222 7777
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