Training compensation in footballMatthew Chantler
It is undisputed that, as a general principle, training compensation must be paid to a player’s training club when a player signs his first professional contract with another club and on each further transfer until the end of the football season of his 23rd birthday (Article 20 of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players 2010 (Regulations)).
A further provision in the Regulations sets out an exception to the general principle for players moving from one association to another inside the EU. It says:
“If the former [training] club does not offer the player a contract, no training compensation is payable unless the former club can justify that it is entitled to such compensation. The former club must offer the player a contract in writing via registered post at least 60 days before the expiry of his current contract. Such an offer shall furthermore be at least of an equivalent value to the current contract. This provision is without prejudice to the right to training compensation of the player’s previous club(s).”
What does the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) say?
I am often asked whether this provision applies to both amateur and professional players. In what is arguably the leading case on this provision, the case of Tim Krull, the CAS upheld the FIFA DRC interpretation and held that this provision does cover both amateur and professional players.
The CAS Panel held that the second and third sentences in the provision apply to players who have a professional contract in place.
Therefore, if the training club does not offer a professional contract to one of its amateur players and another club signs the amateur player on a professional contract then the training club will not be entitled to training compensation unless it can justify that it is entitled to such compensation.
What should clubs do?
The CAS Panel concluded that if a club wants to retain the right to training compensation then it must justify it by taking a proactive attitude vis-à-vis that individual player so that it is clear that the club still counts on him for future seasons. Therefore the training club must either:
- Offer the player a professional contract; or
- Show a bona fide and genuine interest in retaining him for the future.
The CAS concluded that if the club does not offer a professional contract then the club can “still justify its entitlement if it proves that it desires to keep the player on the club’s roster or in its youth academy with a view to keeping alive the option of granting him a professional contract at a later stage”.
Should the offer be in writing?
Another question is whether training compensation can be claimed if an offer is not made in writing or not sent via registered mail. We are not aware of any recent CAS cases on this issue however a recent FIFA DRC case allowed a claim from a club who had made an offer by email. Therefore, it would appear that, a club can claim training compensation if it can prove that an offer has been made.
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About the Author
Matthew, a solicitor at Mills & Reeve LLP, specialises in Sports Law and is an FA and RFL Registered Lawyer. He advises players' associations including Professional Players Federation, Professional Footballers' Association, PFA Scotland, Rugby Players Association, 1eagu3 and their members, a number of professional football clubs, players and agents on regulatory and legal matters.