Here’s something fun to contemplate. According to top sports lawyer John Mehrzad, Manchester City players may have grounds to terminate their contracts if the club’s Champions league ban is upheld by the CAS. This could open the door for Leroy Sane to move to Bayern Munich for free this summer.
In a Twitter thread, Mehrzad outlined the possibility of City players terminating their employment and effectively becoming “free agents”. Instead of having me butcher his argument, here’s the thread in its full glory:
1. It is arguable that Man City’s conduct (subject to CAS appeal) in breaching UEFA (and it would seem PL) regs would be a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence City’s player contracts.— John Mehrzad (@JohnMehrzadLaw) February 15, 2020
3. Such conduct goes to the root of being a professional footballer at the highest level - ie an ability to play in the highest level of European club competition if club qualifies in the usual way.— John Mehrzad (@JohnMehrzadLaw) February 15, 2020
5. UK employment law would, I suspect, look favourably on player’s arguments if they resigned as City’s conduct (again subject to CAS appeal) has deprived them of playing in champs league - and it can be safely assumed achieving related bonus payments.— John Mehrzad (@JohnMehrzadLaw) February 15, 2020
End. In reality, money talks. City players unlikely to walk out of lucrative contracts or become embroiled in legal battles. But their agents can now demand hefty guaranteed payments/renegotiated contracts for players to stay. City may have little option but to agree.— John Mehrzad (@JohnMehrzadLaw) February 15, 2020
Could this be another example of a KHR masterclass in the works? Did Rummenigge KNOW that this was coming, and now Bayern Munich stand to profit immensely from City’s misery? Not likely.
The Citizens still have to appeal UEFA’s decision in the CAS, and we know that they’ll go all-out. No one can be sure how the CAS will rule, but even if it doesn’t overturn the ban, it’ll probably take some time for the matter to be settled in court. By the time a decision comes, it would probably be too late in the transfer window for someone like Sane to begin the process of taking his club to court in order to terminate his employment.
Bayern would probably just get him the usual way, and pay the 80-100m euro fee that Man City wants. Since Sane’s contract ends in 2021, the UEFA ban doesn’t have any bearing on his ability to come to Munich (aside from depriving City of a lot of negotiating power this summer).
However, it could have implications for players like Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri — i.e. players who are in their prime but are still on long term contracts. If teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, or even Bayern set their sights on players like them, then City might have a big problem on their hands.
Of course, all this is just speculation. Until the CAS gives its ruling on the issue, we won’t know the full extent of the fallout from Man City’s Champions League ban.