Anelka - a matter of trust and confidence?

Nicolas Anelka in a coat
Saturday, 25 January 2014 By David Reade QC

Following The Football Association (The FA) charges against Nicolas Anelka announced on the 21st Jan 2014, David Reade Q.C considers the question how an employer's duties towards an employee who faces a disciplinary process initiated by a regulatory body may feature in this ongoing saga.

As one of the West Bromwich Albion faithful I was at the roller coaster ride which was their 3:3 draw with West Ham on the 28th December. Our collective jubilation over Nicholas Anelka's first goal prompted me only to have a quizzical second glance as the big screen replay of his goal celebration revealed an apparent muscular rigidity afflicting his right arm. The following days revealed that the gesture carried a wider significance and that I was a potential witness for an FA disciplinary hearing, there are others.

Whilst The FA mulled over possible action Anelka was picked for the Albion's match against Everton. The club have not yet taken disciplinary action themselves, although Anelka has agreed not to repeat the gesture. This week The FA charged Anelka, see Daniel Geey's blog on the disciplinary process. Whilst the Club has not held its own disciplinary hearing, reports in the media suggest that it has made clear that it is for Anelka to fund the costs of his own legal representation before The FA, if he continues to dispute the charge.

That does raise an interesting question of an employer's duties towards an employee who faces a disciplinary process initiated by a regulatory body, a question with particularly resonance within sporting regulation.

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David Reade Q.C

David Reade QC

David Reade Q.C is a commercial litigator at Littleton Chambers with a wide base of experience of sports based disputes, particularly in the field of managerial and player disputes. He recently successfully appeared for Crystal Palace FC in the Court of Appeal. 

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