Building your Bonus

| Career Insights

Building your Bonus

Imagine a situation where a football player signs a contract with a club that includes performance-based bonuses. However, the player feels that the club has not properly evaluated their performance and has not paid them the bonuses they rightfully earned. This disagreement can lead to a contract dispute between the player and the club.

There are various types of bonuses that can be included in player contracts. These include: 

1. Signing Bonus: This is often a one-off payment made to a player when they first join the club. Disputes can arise if there are delays in the payment or if the player feels that the club has not fulfilled certain contractual obligations (ie to invest into the wider squad).

2. Performance-based Bonus: A notable example is when Carlos Tevez, while playing for Manchester City, refused to come off the bench as a substitute during a Champions League match. This was reportedly due to a dispute over a goal bonus, as Tevez believed he had met the criteria for the bonus, but the club disagreed. These disputes can be as a result of goal or assist targets. At times, players may fall short of the goal target, but feel the importance of the goals they scored merits the payment of the bonus. (ie if a player is frequently scoring game winning goals). 

3. Appearance Bonus: In some instances, players have disputed the calculation of appearance bonuses. This can happen if there is ambiguity in the contract regarding what constitutes an ‘official’ appearance. These disputes at times result from friendly games and substitute appearances. 

4. Clean Sheet Bonus: Goalkeepers have been known to dispute clean sheet bonuses if there is a disagreement over what qualifies as a clean sheet. For example, if a goal is scored due to a defensive error or an own goal, the goalkeeper may argue that it should not count against their clean sheet record. In the final game of the Premier League season in 2016, David Dea Gea held a clean sheet and was due to win the golden glove until Chris Smalling scored a late own goal. If De Gea was due a bonus, you can sure bet he would have removed Smalling from the Christmas card list. 

5. Loyalty Bonus: Disputes can arise if a player believes they are entitled to a loyalty bonus but the club disagrees. This can happen if there are disagreements over the length of time the player needs to stay with the club or if there are certain performance criteria that need to be met. As expanded in previous articles, Neymar’s move to PSG from Barcelona coincided with his expectation to receive a loyalty bonus from Barcelona. This matter was eventually settled out of court.

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