Czech court confirms that footballers can be engaged as contractors or employees
The Supreme Administration Court of the Czech Republic has ruled in its recent judgment that a professional football player may perform his duties to the club under a business contract (i.e., as an entrepreneur) rather than an employment contract.
Before this judgment, the relevant public authorities strictly considered athletes as employees with respect to their social and tax obligations, although it is fair to say that the position under the relevant law is unclear.
According to Czech labour law, “dependent work” (as defined in Section 2 of the Czech Labour Code) can be performed only under the employment contract. The Supreme Administration Court concluded that the work of a professional athlete may not, in and of itself, be caught by definition of a dependent work and thus may not necessarily be an employment arrangement. The position of a football player is so specific that it is not possible to apply some provisions of the Labour Code (e.g., provision regarding work breaks, transfers of the players, notice of termination). Therefore, it is within the parties’ discretion to decide whether they wish to enter an employment contract or a business contract.
However, until a special law is adopted setting out the legal position of athletes, it is possible that these issues will arise again.
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