What next for Anelka and West Brom?

Friday, 21 March 2014 By John Shea

Nicholas Anelka’s career with West Bromwich Albion ended in disputed circumstances on the 14 March 2014 after both parties claimed to have terminated Anelka’s contract of employment.

In addition to the five match ban handed down by The FA’s Independent Regulatory Commission1 following Anelka’s controversial quenelle gesture, Anelka was suspended by West Brom and forced to train alone while the club carried out its own internal inquiry, which was due to be concluded this week.

However, Anelka issued a statement via Twitter on the 14 March 2014 confirming that:

Following discussions between the club and myself, proposals have been made to me that I rejoined the group under certain conditions that I cannot accept. Wishing to preserve my integrity, I decided to free myself and to terminate the contract binding me with West Bromwich Albion until 2014, and now.2

The conditions referred to in Anelka’s statement were to apologise to the club, supporters, sponsors and wider community as well as to accept a substantial fine.

West Brom later issued two statements firstly denying receiving any formal notice of termination from Anelka and later confirming that "The club considers the conduct of Nicolas Anelka on 28 December, coupled with his purported termination on Social Media, to be gross misconduct. As a result the Club has tonight written to Nicolas Anelka giving him 14 days’ notice of termination as required under his contract.3



West Brom have the option of seeking compensation from Anelka under Article 17 of FIFA’s Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players4 (“RSTP”) on the basis that Anelka’s gross misconduct amounted to a unilateral breach of his employment contract without just cause that entitled the club to treat the contract as at an end. Article 17 of the RSTP confirms that any party who terminates a contract without just cause must pay compensation to the innocent party. 

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John Shea

John Shea

John is a senior associate in the Sports Business Group at Lewis Silkin specialising in contentious, regulatory and disciplinary issues for clubs, agencies, governing bodies and athletes

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