Arbitrator cancels club’s sanction against a player for alleged unjustified absence while he attended funeral of a close relative.
Barcelona, 17 January 2022 – During the final days of 2021, ELPA successfully represented its member Krunoslav Simon in an arbitration against his club Anadolu Efes Istanbul before the Euroleague Basketball Dispute Resolution Chamber (EBDRC), which is the first player-club case in front of this recently established court. ELPA’s appeal challenged a hefty fine imposed by the club on the player (50% of his monthly salary), after the player did not travel with the team to two away games, but instead travelled to his home country to attend the funeral of his close relative. While the player should have properly coordinated his absence with the club prior to his departure, which the arbitrator found he did not do, the EBDRC decided that the sanction imposed by the club against the player was disproportionally high and thus needed to be reduced by more than 80%. The club will also have to pay a contribution towards the player’s legal expenses and a majority of the arbitration costs.
In the arbitration, the player was able to rely on Article 20(e) of the EuroLeague Framework Agreement (EFA), which provides that a player is entitled to a minimum of three days off (including game days) in case of a death of an immediate family member. At the same time, a player also has to respect Article 20(f) of the EFA, according to which any absence due to the death of a player’s immediate family member needs to be coordinated between the player and the club in good faith. While a player does not need club’s permission for such absence, he must at least attempt to coordinate his time off with the club. In that case, the player’s monthly salary cannot be reduced, nor can a player be sanctioned for his absence.
The EBDRC Award, which was issued within two months after the arbitration was initiated, will be published by Euroleague in due course.