Editor’s note: Kester Mekenkamp is an LL.M. student in European Law at Leiden University and an intern at the ASSER International Sports Law Centre.
On 17 February 2016,
the Landesarbeitsgericht Rheinland-Pfalz
delivered its highly anticipated decision in the appeal
proceedings between German goalkeeper Heinz Müller and his former employer,
German Bundesliga club Mainz 05.
The main legal debate revolved around the question (in general terms) whether
the use of a fixed term contract in professional football is compatible with
German and EU law.
In first instance (see
our earlier blog posts, here and here), the Arbeitsgericht Mainz had ruled that the
‘objective reasons’ provided in Section 14 (1) of the German
Part-time and Fixed-term Employment Act (Gesetz über Teilzeitarbeit und befristete
Arbeitsverträge, “TzBfG”), the national law implementing EU
Directive 1999/70/EC on fixed-term work, were not applicable
to the contract between Müller and Mainz 05 and therefore could not justify the
definite nature of that contract.
In its assessment the court devoted special attention to the objective reason
relating to the nature of the work, declining justifications based thereupon.
Tension rose and the verdict was soon labelled to be able to have Bosman-like
implications, if held up by higher courts.
Editor’s note: This report compiles all relevant news, events and materials on
International and European Sports Law based on the daily coverage provided on
our twitter feed @Sportslaw_asser. You are invited to complete this survey via the comments section
below, feel free to add links to important cases, documents and articles we
might have overlooked.
The eagerly awaited FIFA Presidential elections of 26 February provided
for a “new face” at the pinnacle of international football for the first time
since 1998. One could argue whether Infantino is the man capable
of bringing about the reform FIFA so desperately needs or whether he is simply
a younger version of his predecessor Blatter. More...
Zlatka Koleva is a graduate from the Erasmus University Rotterdam and is currently an Intern at the ASSER International Sports Law Centre.
The decision on appeal in the case
of O’Bannon v. NCAA seems,
at first sight, to deliver answers right on time regarding the unpaid use of
names, images and likenesses (NILs) of amateur college athletes, which has been
an ongoing debate in the US after last year’s district court decision that
amateur players in the college games deserve to receive compensation for their
The ongoing struggle for compensation in exchange for NILs used in TV
broadcasts and video games in the US has reached a turning point and many have
waited impatiently for the final say of the Court of Appeal for the 9th
circuit. The court’s ruling on appeal for the 9th circuit, however,
raises more legitimate concerns for amateur sports in general than it offers
consolation to unprofessional college sportsmen. While the appellate court
agreed with the district court that NCAA should provide scholarships amounting
to the full cost of college attendance to student athletes, the former rejected
deferred payment to students of up to 5,000 dollars for NILs rights. The
conclusions reached in the case relate to the central antitrust concerns raised
by NCAA, namely the preservation of consumer demand for amateur sports and how
these interests can be best protected under antitrust law. More...
The first part of the present blog article provided a
general introduction to the compatibility of fixed-term contracts in football
with Directive 1999/70/EC
(Directive). However, as the Member States of the European Union enjoy a
considerable discretion in the implementation of a directive, grasping the
impact of the Directive on the world of football would not be possible without considering
the national context. The recent ruling of the Arbeitsgericht Mainz (the lowest
German labour court; hereinafter the Court) in proceedings brought by a German
footballer Heinz Müller provides an important example in this regard. This second
part of the blog on the legality of fixed-term contract in football is devoted
to presenting and assessing the Court’s decision.
I. Facts and Procedure
Heinz Müller, the main protagonist of this case, was a goalkeeper
playing for 1.FSV Mainz 05 a club partaking to the German Bundesliga. More...
On 25 March 2015, the Labour Court of Mainz
issued its decision in proceedings brought by a German footballer,
Heinz Müller, against his (now former) club 1. FSV Mainz 05 (Mainz 05). The
Court sided with the player and ruled that Müller should have been employed by
Mainz 05 for an indefinite period following his 2009 three year contract with
the club which was subsequently extended in 2011 to run until mid-2014. The
judgment was based on national law implementing Directive 1999/70 on fixed-term
(Directive) with the latter being introduced pursuant to art. 155(2) TFEU (ex
art. 139(2) TEC). On the basis of this
article, European social partners’ may request a framework agreement which they
conclude to be implemented on the European Union (EU, Union) level by a Council
decision on a proposal from the Commission. One of the objectives of the framework
and therefore of the Directive, was to establish a system to prevent abuse
arising from the use of successive fixed-term employment contracts or
which lies at the heart of the discussed problem.
Introduction: FIFA’s TPO ban and its compatibility with EU competition law.
Day 1: FIFA must regulate TPO, not ban it.
Day 2: Third-party entitlement to shares of transfer fees: problems and solutions
Day 4: Third Party Investment from a UK Perspective.
Day 5: Why FIFA's TPO ban is justified.
Editor’s note: Ariel N. Reck is an Argentine
lawyer specialized in the football industry. He is a guest professor at ISDE’s
Global Executive Master in International Sports Law, at the FIFA CIES Sports
law & Management course (Universidad Católica Argentina) and the Universidad
Austral Sports Law diploma (Argentina) among other prestigious courses. He is a
regular conference speaker and author in the field of sports law.
Being an Argentine lawyer, Ariel will focus on the impact FIFA’s TPO ban
will have (and is already having) on South American football.More...
In the wake of the
French Labour Union of Basketball (Syndicat National du Basket, SNB) image
rights dispute with Euroleague and EA Games, we threw the “jump ball” to start
a series on players’ image rights in international professional basketball. In our first blogpost, we discussed why
image rights contracts in professional basketball became a fertile ground for disputes
when it comes to the enforcement of these contracts by the Basketball Arbitral
Tribunal (BAT). Indeed, we pointed out that clubs might take advantage of the
BAT’s inconsistent jurisprudence to escape obligations deriving from image
In this second limb, we will open a second
field of legal battles “around the rim”: the unauthorized use of players’ image
rights by third parties. We will use as a point of reference the US College
Athletes image rights cases before US Courts and we will thereby examine the
legal nature of image rights and the precise circumstances in which such rights
may be infringed. Then, coming back to where we started, we will discuss the
French case through the lens of US case law on players’ image rights.
Source: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2013/09/27/ea-sports-settles-college-likeness-case/ More...
addressed to fans of French teams featuring in the recently launched video game
NBA 2K15: Hurry up! The last jump ball for Strasbourg and Nanterre in NBA 2K 15
may occur earlier than expected. The French Labour Union of Basketball (Syndicat
National du Basket, SNB) is dissatisfied that Euroleague and 2K Games did not
ask (nor paid) for its permission before including the two teams of Pro A in
the NBA 2K15 edition. What is at issue? French
basketball players’ image rights have been transferred to SNB, which intends to
start proceedings before the US Courts against 2K Games requesting 120.000
euros for unauthorized use of the players’ image rights. SNB is clear: it is
not about the money, but rather to defend the players’ rights.
Strasbourg and Nanterre risk to “warm up” the virtual bench if this litigation
Source: http://forums.nba-live.com/viewtopic.php?f=149&t=88661&start=250 More...
Pursuant to Kelsen’s famous pyramid, the authority of norms may be
ranked according to their sources: Constitution is above the Law, which is in
turn superior to the Regulations, which themselves stand higher to the
Collective Agreement etc…Under French labour law, this ranking can however be
challenged by a “principle of favourable treatment” which allows a norm from a
lower rank to validly derogate from a superior norm, if (and only if) this
derogation benefits to the workers.
April 2014, the Cour de Cassation (the French Highest Civil Court) considered that
these principles apply in all fields of labour law, regardless of the
specificity of sport. In this case, Mr. Orene Ai’i, a professional
rugby player, had signed on 13 July 2007
an employment contract with the Rugby Club Toulonnais (RCT) for two sport
seasons with effect on 1 July 2007. More...
Dahmane v KRC
Court of Labour
of Antwerp (Hasselt district) 6 May 2014
Algemeen rolnummer 2009/AH/199
The Facts More...