The  Effects Of The Pandemic (Covid-19) On Football And Basketball

The epidemic of COVID-19 which defined as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) has many effects on social, economic, and in numerous fields as on sports law. Important matters like will the players and agents fees be paid or how they will be paid, when the leagues continue, the situation of the players who agreed with different clubs and transferred temporarily, which measures will be taken to protect the player’s health in the case of the leagues to continue remains uncertain. On this matter, our explanations on the field of basketball will be led by statements made by FIFA. On the advisory circular shared by FIFA on 07.04.2020 with the topic of “COVID-19: Football Regulating Issues”, the pandemic accepted as a force Majeure and made evaluations on the issue of interpretation of Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (FIFA RSTP). The advice of FIFA to the Clubs and the Players are as follows:

1- The common interest of players and clubs to come to an agreement by negotiating should form a basis.

2-                          In case of a unilateral determination by a Club, this determination should be justified by the legal rules of the country of the Club.

3-                          If the Club and the players cannot come to an agreement at the end of the negotiations and also there is a lacunae in law on the dispute, FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber and The Players' Status Committee (PSC) shall decide by using the conditions below as the basis:

- The economic situation of the Club

- rate of the payment deducted

- The amount of the player’s final payment after deduction

- Whether the deduction imposed on particular players or the whole roster

- The Club’s good-faith on the negotiations

Article 19/2 Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Professional Football Players states that the expiry date of agreements must be May 31st. On this matter, even though there is not an official declaration, it remains a question of what will happen if the players whose agreements will end at the end of the seasons in the case of agreeing with other clubs.

FIFA explained that the agreement expires at the end of this season will be accepted as valid after the leagues have finished and the agreements regarding the next season will be accepted as valid after the date the leagues start. In case of overlapping the periods of season and registration, the first club will be prioritized unless there is a different agreement between the Club and the player. In case of a disagreement, FIFA will decide based on the economic situation of the parties. Another issue advised on is that in the case that the dates of seasons to start to be determined. Also, another issue advised was in case it is decided to continue the leagues on specific dated,  if a player’s salary was due before this date, the salary should be postponed to this date or the registration period. Cuts from salaries or the postponements should be negotiated by the Clubs and players according to the advice.

For the agreements decided not to bourn affect with both parties' approval, it is desired to find a balance to protect a part of the player’s earnings and ease the effects of COVID-19’s effects on the Club’s economic situation. Concordantly, it is advised that the proper conditions to prepare collective agreements for the period of the effects of COVID-19 and the postponement period continue and to indicate state aids should be created; to make a change in an agreement unilaterally it should be by both the local laws and the collective agreements, also those changes should be considered in good-faith, reason, and proportionateness by FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber and The Players' Status Committee (PSC) to bourn affect. During the period of the games stopped, it is only possible to accept the agreements suspended with the financial aid plannings.

As can be seen at the advisory decisions of FIBA, mainly it is desired that the parties negotiate and the assessments will rely on good-faith, reason, and proportionateness. Concordantly, Club’s Union’s advisory decisions are as followed:

1-     Clubs will try to come to an agreement regarding the suspension, revision, and configuration of the payments will be made to players, agents, technical team, etc. According to their agreements of 2019/2020 season.

2-     In case that an agreement cannot be made, agreements and payments will be suspended until the leagues start and notices will be sent to the players.

3-     It is detected that the Club’s loss is %30 per year. In case the fate of the leagues can be determined, each club can impose their rate of deduction according to their loss. Due payments to the players will be paid after the leagues started.

On March 31st, 2020, EU Players Executive Council held an emergency meeting to discuss the latest developments of COVID-19  and its effect on the sports and players and released advisory decisions. The main point of these decisions that pacta sund servanda should be adopted. Changes in the agreement should only be done if the parties agree. Uniliteral changes should not be made. In case the leagues continue, necessary precautions should be taken to protect the players, officers, workers, audience health, and security. Games should be planned with enough time to prepare for considering the health and security of the players. Professional players should be accepted as the other workers to government financial protection programs.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is accepted as force meajure by FIFA and some statements are made, FIBA has not made any statements regarding basketball. Considering there no rules regulating extraordinary situations in international law, the problems should be solved with blanket clauses, exaequo et bono.

. Article 21/2 Regulations on the License, Registration, and Transfer of Basketball Players, the end date of the leagues is 30th June for men leagues and 31st of May for women leagues. Women’s leagues are canceled but there is no official announcement for Men’s leagues. Players have already got their 7 salaries out of 10 and it is discussed that the remaining 3 will be paid or is a deduction will be made. This amount is %30 of a player’s annual income.

There is only one case to set an example for the postponement of the leagues with the reason of force meajure. In the season of 2013/2014, it is decided that the Lebanese Basketball League to be postponed with the reason of force meajure and the case BAT 0529/14 is between the Lebanese Club Champville and the player Georges Feghali. Even though the player requested the full salary to be paid, the decision is that a part of the salary to be paid because of the force meajure. In terms of this decision, consequences of this pandemic should be faced by Clubs as much as the players with the basis of agreeing before BAT. Players should be protected, unliteral changes, deductions on salaries without agreeing with players should not be allowed.

In light of all of these advisory decisions, both in football and basketball, an official announcement especially on the issue of postponement of the leagues needed to evaluate the position of players. It is only possible for rescission or suspension of an agreement if the leagues officially postponed. In case it is determined how the leagues will continue, these advisory decisions, especially FIBA will be leading for the players. According to those decisions, it can be in the benefit of the clubs with the basis of agreement, good faith, and economic situation. Players, clubs and national federations are obliged to the regulations of FIFA. In this respect, the Dispute Resolution Chamber will be affected by the decisions of FIFA DRC undoubtedly.


Avukat Özcan Yüksel 1982 yılında Edirne’de doğmuştur. İlk ve orta öğretimini Edirne’de tamamladıktan sonra lise eğitimini İzmir’de Bornova Anadolu Lisesinde tamamlamıştır.Av. Özcan Yüksel 2000 senesinde Anadolu Üniversitesi Hukuk Fakültesini kazanmış buradan mezun olup askerlik hizmetini tamamladıktan sonra da 2007 yılında İzmir Barosuna kayıt olarak Avukatlık mesleğini icra etmeye başlamıştır. 2008 senesinde Yüksel Hukuk Bürosunu kuran Avukat Özcan Yüksel halen daha kurucusu olduğu bu büroda hizmet vermektedir.

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