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How Spain’s "Real Decreto" impacts football player transfers and solidarity contributions under FIFA Regulations

How Spain’s
Thursday, 03 November 2016 By Alfonso León Lleó

Recently a dispute (“the Award”) between Sevilla Fútbol Club S.A.D. (Sevilla) and another club affiliated to the Fédération Française de Football, AS Monaco, was heard before the FIFA Judicial Bodies and subsequently the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”). The case is based upon the Spanish Real Decreto 1006/19851 ("Real Decreto").

The Real Decreto is a specific piece of legislation introduced in Spain in 1985 following a mandate included in the Spanish Worker’s Statute. The mandate entrusted the legislator with the task of implementing specific labour regulations meant to govern a particular type of special labour relationships, i.e. the ones involving athletes. In order to so, it was specified within the mandate that the new legal framework, the Real Decreto, had to incorporate labour law principles while taking due consideration of any related specificities existing in the sports sphere.

One of the particularities of the Real Decreto is that it provides sportspersons the right to unilaterally and prematurely terminate their employment contract subject to the payment of an amount of compensation which could have been defined contractually or left to the discretion of the Spanish labour courts.

This was the legal resort used by a French football player (hereinafter, the “Player”) who was under the employment of a Spanish club, Sevilla. The Player unilaterally terminated his employment contract with Sevilla and attended the offices of the Spanish Professional Football League (hereinafter, the “LFP”) where he deposited, together with a representative of AS Monaco, a cheque in the sum of EUR 20 Million to be paid to Sevilla.

The right provided to sportspersons in Spain by means of Article 13 and 16.1 of the Real Decreto is explicitly referred to by the FIFA Commentary to the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (hereinafter, the “FIFA RSTP”)2 and its consequences equated to the existence of a buy-out clause in the relevant employment contract.

The move of the Player in the Award was based on the exact same circumstances which took place in the Keita case3.

This article will examine and discuss the key issues that arose in this case which may be of utmost relevance for any club seeking to acquire the services of any professional football player under an employment contract with a Spanish club.


Atypical Transfers

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Written by

Alfonso León Lleó

Alfonso León Lleó

Associate at Ruiz-Huerta & Crespo SPORTS LAWYERS. Specialist in Sports Law. LL.M. inInternational Sports Law (ISDE). Member of the AEDD. Graduated in Law andBusiness Administration. Member of the Board of Directors at Club de TenisValencia.

+ 34-650031353

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