Irene Aguiar: “ERTE is a legal tool that Las Palmas can host”

first_imgThe legal advisor, attached to the Iusport management, and expert in sports law and Sport management, Irene Aguiar, attends the Diario AS to shed a little light on the current legal questions regarding the application of ERTE in the world of football and the expiration of contracts, as well as the particularity of the case of UD Las Palmas, being the The only professional club in La Liga that guarantees 100% of the salary of its employees and footballers.In the beginning, many clubs did not want to join an ERTE or did not see it as necessary, however, every day a new club comes out requesting its application. Was it inevitable given the economic and legal uncertainty?Of course, we must bear in mind that ERTE is the tool designed to safeguard these circumstances, which are superfluous, unpredictable, which affect football and all industries equally. What happens here is that the losses are large and indeterminate and the uncertainty does a lot of damage, because in a certain scenario you can make your forecasts, but here it is not known if the competition will be suspended for one, four or six months, or if not resumes. Therefore, the exact losses are not known either.It has also been attributed to a bad management of the clubs, as if they should have money in cash to survive these months without competition, but the best management could not imagine this scenario. By managing your accounts well, you can think of a reduction in your income, different scenarios, etc; However, you never imagine the complete cancellation of your income. A pandemic is not expected by anyone, so ERTE is the lawful tool that clubs can welcome, like any other company, if they want to survive this situation.Is the figure of the Bankruptcy Law in professional clubs completely discardable due to this crisis?We could get to see it, yes. In general many are going to be in great difficulties and it is possible that some have serious problems to survive if the situation is prolonged. There are clubs with very few resources and it will seriously affect them.At the local level, UD Las Palmas is, for the moment, the only team that has requested it, ensuring that it will maintain 100% of the salary of its players and workers. Why before they could not accept it and now it is understood that yes under this formula?The issue is that it can be difficult to justify that you have a real need to apply it, if you are going to keep wages, so it is possible that at first they thought that it would not be approved. After all, it is debatable. Of course, it depends on more variables. It is one thing for you to do the ERTE on non-sports personnel, suspend their contracts and to that you add a supplement that reaches 100% of the salary. To understand it better, we put figures: a worker who receives € 1,000, the unemployment benefit he receives is € 700 and the club puts him € 300 to complete his salary. This mechanism is compressible taking into account the number of workers that a club has. You can afford 100 € 300 salaries, but not 100 € 1,000. However, a different thing is if you make a reduction in working hours and complete 100%, because in practice you are paying the entire salary. Now, the agreement with the footballers what you can take into account are other variables such as the duration of the competition and what is being guaranteed is the total to be received annually. By this I mean that now instead of ending in June, the league can end in August and there are already 3 more months of salary that the club did not have and have been able to reach agreements to receive what was agreed in 12 months .And why is it taking so long for the labor authority to respond?The truth is that the labor authority has a maximum period of five days to resolve and authorize it. Right now the administrations are overflowing with the amount of ERTE´s that are being presented. At the moment three have been approved in La Liga, which are those of Barca, Espanyol and Alavés, due to positive silence, which means that the five-day period has expired and is understood as authorized. Normally, if you have not already been authorized, you at UD Las Palmas must be on the fall.Despite joining ERTE, from the Gran Canaria club they predict losses of between 2 and 3 million euros just for this two-month hiatus, are we legally entering an uncertain time of how to manage television contracts, sponsors, etc?Audiovisual rights are expected to be saved, but many other issues. The sponsorship leg is going to be very touched. Hopefully all other contracts will be renegotiated. The sponsor will need it because they have lost their activity, they may have had many losses, they will not have as much return as in normal circumstances, etc.The logical thing in these cases is that the club also plays its part since the relationship between them is close. As stipulated in the contract, the possibility that one of the parties may have to take charge of a force majeure cause or not, can be taken into account, this must also be taken into account.And in the field of fan subscriptions?Surely many clubs choose to return part of this income to their fans by not being able to go to the stadiums until next season, although they are not obliged to have ceased the activity due to a greater cause, the wording of this link of the club with its subscriber to know if the return is mandatory or not. In any case, if a part is returned, we can speak of a 10-20% loss of a club’s income, to which must be added merchandising sales, normal tickets, etc.Player rights and transfers The League is negotiating with the AFE the economic cut to the soccer players without reaching any type of agreement. One of the criticisms made by the footballers’ union is that, if the League has been carrying out an economic control of the clubs for years, how is it possible that the sanitized teams are not able to endure one or two months without income and that they put on the Spotlights on the footing of footballers for not wanting to lower their wages?The fact that clubs cannot cope with two, three or four months without competition does not mean that they are not healthy. I understand that the economic control of La Liga has nothing to do with this, because it is impossible to foresee that all income in one fell swoop, especially when we talk about companies with the particularity that the wages of their workers are very high amounts. .Sports clubs, unlike a normal company, can bear that up to 70% of their budget is borne by the salaries of footballers. It is not argued that they have to maintain the level of spending with income at zero. When you remove one of the legs, the balance breaks.It is normal that from AFE the interests of the players are defended, now, I think that in these special circumstances everyone should row in the same direction and, if the footballers do not understand that lowering their claims, there will come a time when the Discussion will not be about reducing 10 or 30% of my salary because there will be no club to go to.In this sense, the clubs have the frying pan by the handle, since they can unilaterally decide to carry out the ERTE.In itself, the clubs can do what you say, although it is not to be expected and, in fact, it is not what we are seeing. What are taking place right now are negotiations, since the relationship between club and player is based on good faith and cordiality and, in the end, the clubs have a bit of family. The footballer has to be comfortable or they end up leaving. You have to think that they are still an asset of the club, so they maintain that good relationship and it is not normal that these negotiations occur.Another issue regarding footballers is that they have been opposed to extending their contracts beyond June 30, despite the FIFA recommendation.FIFA suggests that contracts be prolonged, but does not bind because it cannot enter labor law. Nor does it have the capacity to determine the duration of a contract. If the player has signed a contract until June 30, no one can compel him to extend it. This can only happen by mutual agreement between the club and the player. Accepting otherwise would be accepting slavery.What FIFA has done, with good judgment, is to propose it. It also depends on how the footballer’s contract has been signed, if it says that it is until June 30 or if it is until the end of the season, so in the latter case there would be no problem.Here one of the questions to solve is to see how all the leagues are coordinated for the teams that have players on loan outside their national competition. Therefore, joint solutions are being sought, but it will be frankly difficult. UEFA, for example, has already given Belgium a hint that, if they end the season unilaterally, their teams may not compete in Europe next season. What is convenient is that all come to an agreement.And what can happen regarding the transfer windows?What is envisaged is that a modification of the regulation of the transfer of players statute will be carried out, which will allow, in turn, the national federations to modify their transfer windows. Not that FIFA is going to change this period. I say this because each national federation establishes its soccer player registration periods twelve months in advance and, in addition, it must do so when the season ends. Right now what happens is that we have a period that begins on July 1 because the season ends, in theory, on June 30, however, the competition is prolonged and it cannot happen that while the league is being played they are open the signings and the federation cannot change these regulations right now. What FIFA will do is change the regulations so that each national federation can modify, consequently, the end date of the season and the transfer window so that it takes place at the end of this league course.Not knowing how the disease will evolve in each country, FIFA cannot unilaterally designate market dates.In the health field, it would be understandable that there are players who do not see with good eyes to return to work under these circumstances and this added pressure, would they have any legal argument not to train with their teammates until everything happens?When there is serious and imminent risk, that is, it can be denied when I think you are at risk, but this situation has to be objective.The player can not stop training for the simple fear of being infected by the virus, but if there were other members of the staff infected, there we could enter another field.Economic impact on the stateOnly professional football is one of the drivers of Spain’s gross domestic product, representing 1.37%, with 185,000 direct jobs. Is it up to all sectors to help each other overcome this situation?Yes, they are demonizing the clubs a lot for the ERTE and for the mere idea of ​​resuming soccer, but it is an industry that moves a lot of money and many families depend on this activity to continue their employment. We all have to row for soccer to survive and come back. There is a false dichotomy between health and economics, but there is no choice. These are two aspects of the same balance that have to subsist if we want to maintain the system with which we have been living for so many years. One does not exist without the other.last_img read more