The role of the EFL’s Player Related Dispute Commission in disputes between clubs and players
The League Appeals Committee of the English Football League (EFL) has recently published the decision in the case of Club A -v- Player B, which considered whether an employee’s challenge to a disciplinary decision by a club is to be considered de novo (i.e. ‘afresh’), or whether the independent panel’s role is limited to that of a reviewing body.
The Committee also considered the relevance of the law relating to unfair dismissal to such challenges. Club A said that a club’s decision to discipline a player should only be overturned if no reasonable employer would have imposed the same sanction. It argued that the role of the Player Related Dispute Commission (PRDC) when considering a challenge to a disciplinary sanction or dismissal was not to decide the underlying disciplinary allegations. Instead, its role was said to be analogous to that of the Employment Tribunal when considering a complaint of unfair dismissal, such that cases decided in that context should be applied by the PRDC.
At first instance, the PRDC also considered whether a club can deduct a fine from a departing player’s wage pending the outcome of a challenge.
This article examines the decision, looking at:
- Applicable laws/regulations
- Facts of the case and the parties’ arguments
- Decision of the Player Related Dispute Commission
- Appeal to the League Appeals Committee
- When should fines be deducted from departing players?
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- Tags: Appeals | Athlete Rights | Dispute Resolution | EFL | Employment Law | Football | Player Related Dispute Commission | Premier League Handbook | Regulation | The Professional Football Negotiating and Consultative Committee (PFNCC)
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About the Author
Senior Associate, Mills & Reeve
Phil is a Senior Associate at Mills & Reeve LLP specialising in sports litigation and sports regulatory matters, with a particular focus on the football industry. Phil has worked on a number of high profile integrity/match fixing and doping cases across a variety of sports and also regularly advises football clubs, agents and players on transfers, most notably where work permits are required.
Steven is a specialist sports law barrister at Kings Chambers and 2 Temple Gardens. His practice is focused on commercial, employment, and regulatory matters. Steven is frequently instructed by players, clubs, agents, governing bodies, and players’ associations to deal with high profile/value disputes in these areas.
Richard Jobson - Assistant Chief Executive (PFA)
Richard made his debut as a 19 year old for Watford FC in 1982-83, six weeks after signing from non-league Burton Albion. He then signed for Hull City in 1985 for £40,000. After 221 appearances for them he was signed by Oldham Athletic for a club record fee of £460,000 in 1990. He was a key player in their promotion to the first Division and was recognised as one of the best defenders in the country, earning 2 England ‘B’ caps.
Nick joined Leicester City in 1987 after leaving university and graduating in politics. He was a professional footballer for 15 years making 535 league appearances and scoring 90 goals, playing for Leicester City, Peterborough United, Motherwell, Darlington, Oxford United, Wycombe Wanderers (loan), Fulham and Swansea City.