Could Liverpool sack Suarez?

Luis Suarez
Published: Friday, 27 June 2014. Written by John Mehrzad QC No Comments
Luis Suarez has been banned for nine matches and four months from all football-related activity for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini.1 The world-wide reaction to Suarez’s latest shocking indiscretion has prompted both outrage and ridicule.

The World Cup in Brazil has currently been overshadowed by his actions. Whilst recent talk has centred on the effect of his ban on a proposed transfer away from his employer club, Liverpool, a more interesting question is whether Liverpool even has to sell Suarez in order to recoup his market value?

 

The contractual position

In terms of Suarez’s contract with Liverpool, the standard form Premier League player contract provides, amongst others, that “Gross Misconduct shall mean serious behaviour by the Player”.
 
Such a Player also agrees to “observe the Laws of the Game when playing football”.
 
Under the standard termination provisions in the same contract, “A club is entitled to terminate the employment of the Player by fourteen days’ notice in writing to the Player if the Player shall be guilty of Gross Misconduct”.2
 
Given the stark findings about Suarez by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, in particular that “such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a FIFA World Cup when the eyes of millions are on the stars on the field”3, Liverpool can arguably now contend that Suarez’s behaviour amounts to “Gross Misconduct” for the purposes of his player contract. 
 
But does it make any difference that his misconduct took place at the World Cup rather than when Suarez was playing for Liverpool?
 

Conduct for Uruguay rather than Liverpool

The answer to that question depends on whether Liverpool can reasonably contend that its own reputation has been brought into dispute by Suarez’s conduct during a game between Italy and Uruguay in Brazil?4
 
The answer must be “yes”. Hardly a single, recent headline about Suarez has failed to mention his club, Liverpool.5 Speculation has been rife about the views of the club’s owners, what rehabilitation should be offered when he returns, and in particular whether a possible transfer abroad may be affected? At least for the time-being for Suarez, one must also read Liverpool and visa-versa. Both reputations have clearly been tarnished by his bite.

Continue reading this article...

Register with your email and password
Already a member? Sign in

Get access to all of the expert analysis and commentary at LawInSport including articles, webinars, conference videos and podcast transcripts.  Find out more here.

Related Articles

About the Author

John Mehrzad QC

John Mehrzad QC

John Mehrzad QC was appointed Silk after only 13 years’ practice – the fastest appointee in the 2019 competition.  With a background in employment law and commercial law, his sports law at Littleton Chambers, London, practice focuses, on the one hand, on financial disputes between clubs, managers, players, intermediaries, associations and commercial partners – usually before FA, PL or EFL arbitrations, or before FIFA or the CAS.  

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.

Copyright © LawInSport Limited 2010 - 2020. These pages contain general information only. Nothing in these pages constitutes legal advice. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter. The information provided here was accurate as of the day it was posted; however, the law may have changed since that date. This information is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any specific situation. LawInSport is not responsible for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of this information. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.