EuroLeague players’ payments in question after season’s suspension

2020-03-17T16:27:12+00:00 2020-03-17T16:55:06+00:00.

Aris Barkas

17/Mar/20 16:27
ECA Shareholders Executive Board Meeting - Euroleague Basketball

With the EuroLeague suspended at least until the 11th of April, the future not only of the games, but also of the players; compensation has become a debate.

By Aris Barkas/

While EuroLeague is working through scenarios to find a way to finish the season, EuroLeague clubs are also debating about the players’ and coaches’ payments after the 15th of March.

As the Greek media SDNA reported yesterday, after the initiative of Zalgiris Kaunas, talks have started between the clubs about the possibility of “freezing” the players’ contracts.

The absence of a collective bargaining agreement in the EuroLeague creates a host of issues with contract language having differences according to local laws.

For example, Lithuanian clubs have already argued that they shouldn’t pay the salaries of the last three months of the season since it was canceled, and Zalgiris, the only team of the country in the EuroLeague, was named the champion, using a Force Majeure provision.

However, no other major national league has canceled its season yet, and EuroLeague players’ contracts also cover their services in the local championships and cup tournaments. The only exception is Olympiacos, whose senior team competes only in the EuroLeague this season.

“Force Majeure will probably be the words most spoken in the world of professional sports if the season gets canceled,” said EuroLeague Players Association director Bostjan Nachbar in an interview to Israeli media One. “In some countries, it is possible that national employment and health safety laws might come into play. In the end, there will not be a one-fits-all approach regarding all clubs and players. These issues will become clearer over the coming days and weeks. ELPA will continue to address this point with EuroLeague and clubs, conscious of the fact that the financial reality of some clubs will create significant challenges”.

So nothing should be considered simple at all, especially since the EuroLeague season for the moment is suspended, and not canceled.

According to Eurohoops sources, the priority at this point for ELPA is the safety of the players, and that means ending all team practice sessions and competitions – the Turkish BSL is still holding games and a few EuroLeague teams are still holding practices.

And that’s why it’s hard to predict, especially from a legal standpoint, if it will be possible to have in the end a unified solution, or if the whole debate will be solved on a club by club basis. On the other hand, ELPA is well aware of the situation within every EuroLeague club and is ready to act accordingly if the need arises.