Cristiano Ronaldo’s legal status and whether Manchester United can terminate his contract
The dust has settled after the first shockwave at Old Trafford cristiano ronaldoWith its highly-critical interview, club executives are busy examining their options for next steps to resolve the increasingly toxic situation.
On the day the first episode of Talk TV interviews with presenter Piers Morgan airs, Manchester UnitedOwners Glazer family, chief executive Richard Arnold and director of football John Murtaugh, along with manager Erik ten Haag, will hold talks with their lawyers as they wait to see the full extent of the player’s comments over the next 24 hours.
So far, in extracts published by the Sun newspaper and video clips viewed more than 11 million times on social media, Ronaldo has accused his employers of betrayal and disrespect, taking swipes at Ten Hague and the club’s hierarchy. Here’s what we know so far.
But what alternative clubs are available? How can they take a constructive step in the wake of the 37-year-old superstar’s embarrassing controversies?
What is the biggest consideration for United based on what they know?
The most important thing for United is to ascertain the extent to which Ronaldo is in breach of his contract with his comments and what they can do as a result.
All top-flight players sign one Premier League Employment contract with their club.
Under that agreement, they are “obliged to obey and act in accordance with all lawful instructions of any authorized officer of the Club” and are “not permitted to write or say anything which may cause the Club to be defamed … to the detriment of the Club.”
Jamie Singer, a partner at sports law specialist Onside Law, believes Ronaldo may already be in breach of his standard contract.
“Under the contract, there is a specific provision that talks about not saying anything that discredits the club or damages the club’s reputation,” he said. “The content of the interview immediately violated him.
“The standard terms also cover, where possible, notifying the club in advance of the interviews you are conducting. He could have informed the club so I would think it was probably another breach.”
It is understood United were made aware of the interview in Ronaldo’s camp on Sunday, shortly before Morgan’s first tweet to publicize it, so whether this qualifies as reasonable notice in advance may be open to interpretation.
“As I understand it, the standard contract does not prohibit players from interviewing,” Singer added. “But it forces them to try and help the club by telling them they’re already doing it and making sure they join.”
In this respect, Ronaldo is no different from any of his teammates or players from the other 19 clubs in the Premier League.
“This is a standard Premier League contract that every Manchester United player will sign and every club is obliged to use,” Singer said. “He (Ronaldo) will sign up to these provisions.
“It includes implied terms of trust, loyalty and compliance with reasonable instructions.
“There can be little doubt that what he did put him in breach of the standard contract. From what I have seen, by accusing the club of betrayal, not keeping promises, it is very easy to say that he has brought the club into disrepute and harmed the club’s interests.”
What if United decide Ronaldo has breached his contract?
Ultimately, the club could terminate the Portuguese’s contract.
Having initially rejoined United on a two-year deal with an option for an extra year in August 2021, his current terms will expire in August 2023 – assuming an extra year is not agreed.
However, if United’s hierarchy feel that it is impossible for the player to stay at the club and want to try to get rid of him even in the face of an appeal or more damaging publicity, there is a process they can follow.
“If he’s in breach of contract, that’s one thing,” the singer added. “But if it’s a fundamental breach of contract that would bring termination, that’s another level.
“You can’t predict from a few clips and snippets out of context so it makes sense for United and their legal team to know exactly what was said and then make a judgment call.”
United would be best advised to follow set procedures and consider all their options in the event of a potential breach of contract.
“There is a disciplinary process and if someone breaches the contract by doing something they shouldn’t have done, the club has the option of imposing fines and penalties on the player,” Singer explained.
A high-profile example is former United forward Romelu Lukaku.
This striker gave an explosive interview Sky Italia last season, lambasting ChelseaIts behavior if it fails to play regularly. Chelsea’s then head coach Thomas Tuchel said Lukaku would face “some disciplinary action” for the interview but, unlike Ronaldo, the player was signed for £90million just months earlier.
Lukaku, who also apologized for his interview, is now back on a season-long loan at Inter Milan, the club he left for Chelsea.
“If it’s serious or the player disagrees, you go to the disciplinary process where the player has an opportunity to defend himself,” Singer said. “The club will say what they think he’s done wrong, he can argue that he doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong and then it goes to the club’s board to decide what the penalty should be or whether there should be any penalty. All
“In this situation, it will be an internal hearing and potentially reach a situation where he has committed serious misconduct and they can terminate the contract.
“Or if they believe there’s a lot, they can take a shortcut and say they don’t need a disciplinary process. They may argue that it is so clear and obvious that it is gross misconduct that they will go for outright termination with 14 days’ notice.”
Are there any examples of players ending their contracts?
In August 2011, Shipwreck City Termination of contract signing Jimmy Bullard following an incident on a pre-season tour of Slovenia.
Bullard had a lucrative contract until the end of the 2012–13 season and this led to a legal dispute between him and the club. The former midfielder is said to have finally accepted a settlement and both parties have signed confidentiality agreements.
In 2014, Nicolas Anelka was fired West Bromwich Albion For gross misconduct. Anelka – who was handed a five-match ban and £80,000 fine by the Football Association quenelle He indicated West Ham — announced via Twitter that he was terminating his playing contract, which had three and a half months to run.
The club suspended the Frenchman on full pay following the FA’s ruling and plans to complete their own investigation. West Brom initially said his Twitter statement was “extremely unprofessional”.
Three hours later, the club revealed they had written to Anelka giving him the 14-day termination notice required under his contract. They said Anelka had “failed to apologize for the impact and consequences”.quenelle) gesture” or receive a substantial fine, which will result in the revocation of his suspension.
Singer believes United would be best advised to go through the full process, although they may be angry about the interview.
“The safe route is to go through a disciplinary hearing process, we’ll determine that and you can defend yourself,” he said. “Then we decide on approval.
“If they find him guilty of serious misconduct, which is very rare, the player can still appeal to the Premier League. What makes this unusual is that usually the value of a player’s registration is so significant. It is unusual for a club to terminate a player’s registration contract due to the cost of his registration.
“But here they are paying him hundreds of thousands a week and they can’t sell him for a big transfer fee. That changes the dynamic quite a lot.
“To save £400,000 a week, it might be worth going that route. There is enough incendiary material in what we have seen to possibly justify extreme misconduct.
“They will probably want to go through a disciplinary process to defend themselves against any claims that this was not a fair and just process. Knowing that Ronaldo will probably challenge them, they then have another layer of protection.”
So what could be the end result?
Despite the possibility of his contract being torn up, United may choose to do things amicably and quietly.
As well as criticizing facilities at United’s training ground and other damaging observations about its culture, Ronaldo accused the club of showing “sympathy” when his young daughter was hospitalized in July.
Simon Leaf, head of law firm Mishcon de Rare Sport, believes settling the matter privately may be the best way to limit further embarrassment for the club.
“The club is stuck between a rock and a hard place,” he says. “(A) right to termination is subject to Ronaldo’s right to appeal — specifically if he suggests that United is in breach of its own duty to take reasonable steps to protect the health and safety of its employees, which may extend to allowing Ronaldo. Spending time in such a difficult situation.
“There are no easy answers to this particular legal battle, and from experience, one suspects that, with the money involved in the wage terms and a possible transfer fee that could be cancelled, both Ronaldo and the club will now try to resolve. Issues as amicably as possible.
(Top photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
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