Amateur license and professional player – What is the impact on the qualification of the employment contract? (Cass Soc, 12 December 2012, No. 11-14823 )
A football club has offered a player to join his staff paying monthly 1,525 €. No contract was written, the relationship between club and the player was simply verbal. Considering that the player had clearly done his “time”, the club decided at the end of the season 2005/ 2006 not to take the player in its workforce on the next season. The player was against of this decision. He took the case to the French labor court). He claimed that the relationship between him and the club was an employment contract with the following consequences:
– back-payment of the salary based on the minimum level prescribed by the French Professional Football Charter.
– Payment of damages of a pension scheme.
– Payment of severance and retraining allowances payable subsequent to termination without just cause.
The club, by the office of his lawyer, argued that the player could not be professional when he had an amateur license. The club thus challenged the existence of any contract because of the absence of a written agreement.
The Court of Appeal did not accept the existence of a contract between the club and the player, as inconsistent with the existence of an amateur license. Dissatisfied with the judgment, the player made ??an appeal to the Supreme Court with the following questions:
– Does an amateur license excludes de facto the qualification of the employment contract and the application of the Charter of professional football?
– Can the holder of unwritten contract rebut the presumption of the Labour Code qualifying the contract as CDI (i.e. no term contract of employment)?
The French Supreme Court demonstrated that labor law applied in the sports field. Indeed, a player can be bound by an employment contract with his club even if he is qualified as an amateur player because in his football license. In addition to the execution of a service against compensation, the only criterion operating in the qualification of the contract is the existence of a relationship of subordination ( = power to give orders and directives + power to control + power to give sanction )
The existence of a relationship of subordination is indicated by a body of evidences. To be qualified as an amateur because of a sports license is of no recourse!
Attorney at law – Paris
Sports law specialist