Research Handbook of Employment Relations in Sport
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Research Handbook of Employment Relations in Sport

Edited by Michael Barry, James Skinner and Terry Engelberg

Employment relations, much discussed in other industries, has often been neglected in professional sports despite its unique characteristics. The book aims to explore in detail the unique nature of the employment relationship in professional sports and the sport industry.
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Chapter 7: Arbitration, negotiation and contracts in sport

Jack Anderson


This chapter examines the contractual relations between individual sports participants and their employing club. There are four points of note. First, using the case study of the professional footballer working in England, this chapter outlines the contractual web of employment relations surrounding such participants, including the role of agents. Second, the chapter then moves to a discussion of fundamental issues of contract law, namely the sports participant’s capacity to contract, which is of particular interest where the participant is of a young age. Third, the chapter assesses the content of a hypothetical standard sports contract. In illustration of these points, the contract used will be the standard Football Association of England Premier League (FAPL) contract. Finally, the chapter will finish on issues relating to the termination of contracts (and particularly where a player seeks to end a contract prematurely in order to facilitate a transfer to another club) and thus conclude on the debate between the desire, on the one hand, to promote contractual stability in a sport and the need, on the other hand, to respect players’ legal rights to employment mobility.

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