17.3.2020

Bulletin: Corona virus and player agreements

Corona virus and the measures to prevent it to spread causes many consequences in sport. According to the current knowledge, the effects are in the form of the postponements of the start of the seasons. This information concerns mainly this situation. The circumstances may, however change. Then these instructions will be updated.

Player agreement and termination

Player contracts can be employment contracts or contracts. Mainly player contract is employment contract, if the player is paid salary or other compensation for playing. The amount on the compensation has not been defined in the Employment Contracts Law.

When a player has an employment contract, The Employment Contracts Law will be governed including its layoff regulations. The players employment contracts are fixed-term contracts which clearly states, when the contract starts and when it ends. As a rule, fixed-term contracts may not be layed off.

The Employment Contracts Law and contracts law can include situations, when in the case of force majeure, the contract could in very exceptional cases cause a lay off. In practice, for example a workplace fire or something similar. When the season or its starting date will be moved, we do not believe that there is no ground for lay off.

In Particular, if lay-offs will be made, they should not be accepted at this time. Lay-offs must be informed 14 days before the start of the lay-off, which means that the payroll will be interrupted after 2 weeks. When athletes are not entitled to earnings-related unemployment insurance like any other employees, the athlete is not entitled to any other than perhaps to the basic allowance through Kela. A lay-off would cause significant economical losses for the athlete.

If the players contract is not a contract of employment, the "contract lay-off cause" is usually not even agreed and its terms can be considered from the point of view of force majeure.

Annual holiday

The Football Association of Finland, Veikkausliiga and the Player's Union have agreed, that the player agreements are in accordance with the agreement approved by the Football Association of Finland and their use in the National League, Women's 1st division, Veikkausliiga, Men's 1st division and 2nd division should be respected.

Regulations according the annual leaves are part of the player's contract and they must be applied. It is agreed that the annual leaves shall be taken outside the competition season. The player should be informed of the time of the annual holiday two weeks before the start of the holiday. The annual leave shall be uninterrupted at least two weeks and no trainings or other duty's may no be ordered. Instead the Club has the right to order annual leave to start outside of the competition season, if for example the start of the season will be moved.

The Club can agree with each player individually, not for example through the captains, that the information time for the annual holiday is shorter than the above mentioned two weeks. This must be agreed with the player, it cannot just be announced.

Especially, if the player is on sick leave, annual leave shall not be granted for as long as the player is in sick leave. If a player has been quarantined to prevent the spread of corona virus, the situation is more difficult. Then it is an order of Infectious Diseases Law. If the player were ordered annual leave during the period of the quarantine, the order would probably be invalid. There is no case of law on such a similar situation. It is likely that the situation would be equated with a disease situation whereby annual leave could not be ordered at the same time as quarantine.

If a player becomes ill during his/hers annual leave, he/she should immediately ask the Club to transfer the annual leave ja and the players must provide a reliable medical report.

Mika Palmgren
Licentiate of Laws, vice judge
Court of Arbitration for sport CAS arbitration judge

Questions? Take contact!
Markus Juhola
+358 50 5960 727
markus@jpy.fi