The National Court guarantees the validity of the payments for training rights but limits them to the signatories of the text
There are times, few, in which the holder of a sentence does not comply with the practical conclusions that are drawn from its content. The case of the ruling on the list of compensation for training of female footballers sub’23 that the National Court made public this Wednesday is an obvious example. The ruling dictates that the list is not null, but in practice, no player who was released this summer is going to stop signing for the team they want because of it. Because you can do it without the destination club having to pay anything for it, contrary to what the list says, whose validity has been endorsed.
Yes, the subject is complex and it is convenient to start with its background.
The case exploded a few months ago, in full confinement. The logic and just satisfaction of women’s football for the final signing of the first collective agreement in its history, suddenly, was not full. The progress for the rights of female footballers was immense, of course, but the unions had slipped a china in their shoes, perhaps very small for the collective, but huge for a handful of affected players. The full transfer of an article of the men’s agreement meant that the clubs could retain sub’23 players who finished their contract for absolutely disproportionate amounts. A loophole discovered when the agreement was already signed.
Thus, Levante decided to claim 500,000 euros if Eva Navarro and Ona Batlle left the club; Athletic, 250,000 for Maite Oroz and Damaris Egurrola; Barcelona, 100,000 for five other players. Astronomical figures for a market like women’s football. In Spain, the maximum that has been paid for the transfer of a player is 50,000 euros. Logroño, Espanyol, and Madrid CFF (not to be confused with Real Madrid) also requested lower amounts for some of their U23 players, between 20,000 and 10,000 euros, completing the compensation list.
NOT YET PUBLISHED IN THE BOE
The two main unions understood that they should find a resolution to this matter, coinciding in the disproportion of some of these amounts. AFE, the majority, defended individual negotiation between each club and player, while Futbolistas On filed a collective lawsuit before the National Court, demanding the nullity of the compensation list. The clubs, agreement in hand, defended their right to request what they considered appropriate for these players, with the only self-limitation of having to increase the footballer’s salary by 7% of the amount claimed by her if she finally renewed her contract. What they had signed in the agreement, go.
What the National High Court has decided is that, in effect, the list and its amounts are valid, as they conform to the provisions of the collective agreement signed by the parties. And here, in the parts, is the heart of the matter, which changes the whole sense. The agreement has not yet been published in the BOE because it is contested by the UGT for another issue that is not related to it. In practice, this means that the agreement is now a mere private contract between the signing parties, which does not affect the rest of the players in Spanish women’s football. The text is signed by the member clubs of the Association of Women’s Soccer Clubs, among which are not Athletic, Real Madrid and Barcelona. And it affects only those players who are affiliated with one of the unions.
In other words, those three clubs cannot demand anything for their U23 players, nor do they have to pay anything for those they want to sign. And neither can any club with players who are not affiliated with a union. Thus, Maite Oroz (signing already announced) will go free to Real Madrid, as surely Eva Navarro will also do. Damaris Egurrola seems to end up at Barça, again without payments in between. And Ona Batlle had already decided to go abroad (Manchester United), where the clauses of the Spanish agreement do not apply. The five of Barça are also free to choose their future. According to union sources, the rest of the cases potentially affected will not be either, since either the players decided to renew with their clubs or, in a contract case, they are not affiliated with any union. That is,
FREE FROM ITS ENTIRE FULFILLMENT
The reverse of this decision is that the National Court implicitly recognizes in its ruling that the clubs that are not signatories of the agreement are, until its final publication in the BOE, free of its full compliance. AFE, in this sense, has already shown its concern for “an absolute lack of protection of these footballers with regard to their labor rights included in the collective agreement, placing them in a scenario of total defenselessness”. Footballers On downplays this circumstance, since Barça, Madrid and Athletic meet their players above the minimum of the agreement. On the rebound, and without even trying, UGT has achieved with its challenge that these clubs do not have to pay anything.
The dispute is thus resolved, but only for now. The deal ran out on June 30, and it’s time to renegotiate it for next season. Apparently, there is a certain will to specifically regulate the right to training for U23 players, agreeing on a common table based on variables such as salary, time spent at the club and other factors that reflect the real cost for the clubs of have trained the athletes. It will be necessary to see how progress is made, and if it is done, from will to action. The National Court has already warned that it is not competent to fix anything in this regard. As in almost all football wars, the judicial response is a ‘please, agree between you, that is not that difficult’.