Could Manchester United Sack Ronaldo?
- Employment Law
- 16th Nov 2022
Update: 23rd November 2022 A few days after the publication of our recent blog on the fallout from Cristiano Ronaldo’s infamous interview with Piers Morgan, news filtered through that Manchester United had reached an agreement with Ronaldo to terminate his contract with immediate effect. Reports also followed which confirmed that no compensation would be […]
By Julie SabbaMLP Law
Update: 23rd November 2022
A few days after the publication of our recent blog on the fallout from Cristiano Ronaldo’s infamous interview with Piers Morgan, news filtered through that Manchester United had reached an agreement with Ronaldo to terminate his contract with immediate effect.
Reports also followed which confirmed that no compensation would be paid to Ronaldo, meaning that he is now estimated to forego around £12m in wages. That is, unless or until he finds a new club to pay him the vast wages he attracts as one of the highest profile players of all time.
In our original blog, we suggested that Manchester United would be keen to avoid the media circus that would inevitably follow if they took the nuclear option of sacking their famous number 7, and that they may instead hope that an agreement could be reached to avoid further embarrassment. It now looks as though that is exactly what has happened.
In Employment Law terms, it is likely that a form of “settlement agreement” has been agreed, under which both sides agree to draw a line under their potential dispute. Both club and player are also likely to have agreed not to make any further disparaging comments about the other, as shown by the much more amicable comments from both sides following the formal announcement of their parting of ways.
Could this be the end for the Premier League’s highest paid player?
Following Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent revelations in his Piers Morgan interview, Gareth Matthews, Head of Employment, considers the employment law implications that arise as a result.
From trashing his manager to asserting that the owners of Manchester United ‘don’t care’ about the Club, Ronaldo has made plain that he is not a happy employee.
Although we don’t know the precise detail of his contract, we do know that he is on a fixed term contract, which ends this summer. It seems that Ronaldo is keen to leave the Club early but without forfeiting all the payments that would be due to him under the full term of his contract (estimated to be around £12m) – clearly an unpalatable option for his employers.
In ordinary circumstances, an employer may consider a dismissal based on gross misconduct, due to the derogatory comments and bad publicity generated by Ronaldo. Unfair dismissal would not be a concern, given that Ronaldo has only been back at the Club for less than two years and the fact that the maximum award for such claims is a fraction of Ronaldo’s weekly wage.
However, due to the amount of money at stake, these are certainly not ordinary circumstances. No doubt there will be provisions that allow the Club to terminate the contract early, based on certain types of employee misconduct, but it seems the Club are unlikely to do so, given the media circus and bad publicity that would likely ensue, not to mention the potential breach of contract claim to recover the unpaid £12m.
Instead, the Club are likely to sit tight and hope another club comes in for Ronaldo. This may be easier said than done, with few clubs being able to meet Ronaldo’s wage demands. Alternatively, they may hope that an agreement can be reached with Ronaldo on the remainder of his contract, if Ronaldo is prepared to forego some of his vast wages for this period.
In the meantime, we have seen a fellow Manchester United player, Bruno Fernandes, give Ronaldo a frosty reception as they both arrived at the World Cup in Qatar to represent Portugal. It’s therefore clear that it is in both Ronaldo’s and the Club’s best interest to either resolve their differences or go their separate ways.
If you’re a business dealing with a difficult employee, the Employment team at MLP Law can help. Please do not hesitate to get in touch on 0161 926 9969 or email@example.com, or follow us on Twitter @HRHeroUK.
About the expert
Stephen is the Owner of MLP Law and leads our Commercial, IP and Dispute Resolution teams which provide advice on all aspects of the law relating to mergers, acquisitions, financing, re-structuring, complex commercial contracts, standard trading terms, share options, shareholder and partnership agreements, commercial dispute resolution, joint venture and partnering arrangements, IT and Technology law, Intellectual Property, EU and competition law, Brexit and GDPR.
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