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City players can terminate their contracts

Top sports lawyer says Man City players can terminate their contracts due to UCL ban

February 15, 2020 By Ali M.
The Citizens have been barred from Europe for two years by UEFA and according to one sports lawyer, the players might have found an escape route.

Immediately upon the announcement that UEFA have banned Man City from European competitions for two years, many begun wondering whether the likes of Guardiola and his star players would jump ships. According to one top sports lawyer, this unfolding means the players have ground to terminate their contract with the club.

The Citizens were found guilty of overstating their sponsorship money and were thus hit with this brutal sanction. Furthermore, the club could face further punishment from the Premier League, with everything from points deduction to relegation into League Two being mentioned.

While relegation appears unlikely, one huge worry is if Man City would be able to keep ahold of their star names should other teams come calling due to the lack of Champions League football. Top sports lawyer John Mehrzad; a leading barrister that represents football players, managers, agents and clubs; claims that the players can resign from their contracts as the Citizens have breached the trust and confidence of those deals.

“City players could argue that club has acted in a way that has destroyed their ability to play in UEFA Champions League for two seasons,” Mehrzad wrote on Twitter.

“Such conduct goes to the root of being a professional footballer at the highest level - i.e. an ability to play in the highest level of European club competition if club qualifies in the usual way.

“City players could contend that their player contracts have been fundamentally undermined - and resign in response, effectively becoming ‘free agents’.

“UK employment law would, I suspect, look favorably on the player’s arguments if they resigned as City’s conduct (again, subject to CAS appeal) has deprived them of playing in the Champions League - and it can be safely assumed [deprived of] achieving related bonus payments.

“FIFA (then CAS) would need to be persuaded that City players had ‘just cause’ to terminate [their] contracts. FIFA views ‘contractual stability’ as sacrosanct - but calculated acts by the club that deprive a player of ability to perform as envisaged is arguably ‘just cause’.”

Does this mean the players will now begin to walk out of the club? Not exactly. Mehrzad goes on to predict that the Man City footballers would likely hold the club at ransom and demand lucrative contracts to remain put at the Etihad Stadium, with Guardiola’s side having to agree. 

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