Cristiano Ronaldo, legal status and whether Manchester United can terminate contract

As the first shockwaves of Cristiano Ronaldo’s highly critical interview settle at Old Trafford, club executives have been scrambling to examine options for next steps to address a worsening situation.

Manchester United owner Glazer family, chief executive Richard Arnold and director of football John Murtaugh and manager Eric ten Hager will speak with their lawyers on the first episode of Talk TV interview host Piers Morgan. Talk because they’re waiting to see the full content of player comments within the next 24 hours.

In excerpts published by The Sun and video clips viewed more than 11 million times on social media so far, Ronaldo accused his employers of betrayal and disrespect, taking a swipe at Ten Hag and the club’s hierarchy. Here’s what we know so far.

But what options do clubs have? How will they take a constructive step forward after the 37-year-old superstar’s embarrassing argument?

Based on what they know, what is United’s biggest consideration?

The most important thing for United is to determine the extent to which Ronaldo has breached his contract through his comments and what they can do about it afterwards.

All top players have Premier League employment contracts with their clubs.

Under the agreement, they are obliged to “obey and act on all lawful instructions of any authorized official of the club” and not to “write or say anything that may discredit the club … or cause damage to the club”.

Jamie Singer, a partner at sports law specialists Onside Law, believes Ronaldo may have breached his standard contract.

“Under the contract, there is a specific clause that nothing can be said to discredit or damage the club’s reputation,” he said. “The content of the interview immediately set him off.

“The standard clause also includes, where possible, giving the club advance notice of the interview you’re having. He could have informed the club, so I think it might have been another breach.”

It is understood United were aware of the Ronaldo training camp interview shortly before Morgan’s first tweet published it on Sunday, so that could explain whether it qualifies as reasonable advance notice.

“As far as I know, the standard contract does not prohibit players from being interviewed,” Singh added. “But it forces them to try and help the club, to tell them ahead of time that they’re doing this and to make sure they get in.”

In this context, Ronaldo is no different than any of his team-mates or players from the other 19 clubs in the Premier League.

“It’s a standard Premier League contract that every Manchester United player signs and every club is obliged to use,” Singh said. “He (Ronaldo) will sign the terms.

“This includes implied terms about confidence, loyalty and compliance with reasonable instructions.

“There is no question that what he did puts him in breach of the standard contract. From what I’ve seen, accusing the club of betrayal, of breaking promises, it’s easy to say he’s discrediting and damaging the club.”

What would happen if Manchester United decided Ronaldo had breached his contract?

Ultimately, the club could end the Portuguese’s deal.

He initially rejoined United in August 2021 on a two-year deal with an option for a further year, with his current term expiring in August 2023 – assuming a one-year extension is not agreed unanimous.

However, if United’s top brass believe it is impossible for the player to stay at the club and want to try and get rid of him even facing an appeal or further damaging publicity, there is a procedure they can follow.

ronaldo united

Most important for United will be determining the extent to which Ronaldo has breached his contract through his comments (Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

“If he defaults, that’s one thing,” Singh added. “But if it’s a fundamental breach that leads to the termination of the contract, that’s another level.

“You can’t prejudge based on fragments and fragments taken out of context, so it is imperative that United and their legal team know exactly what was said and then make that judgment.”

United is best advised to follow established processes as they deal with any potential breach and consider all of their options.

“There is a disciplinary process and if someone breaks the contract and does something they shouldn’t do, the club has the power to fine the player and issue a fine,” Singh explained.

One notable precedent is former Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku.

The striker gave an explosive interview to Sky Italia last season in which he lambasted Chelsea’s failure to play properly. Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said Lukaku would face “some disciplinary action” in the interview but, unlike Ronaldo, Lukaku was a £90million signing a few months earlier .

Lukaku, who is now on a season-long loan at Inter Milan, the club he left for Chelsea, also apologized for his interview.

“If the situation is serious or the player disagrees, you go into a disciplinary process and the player has the opportunity to defend himself,” Singh said. “The club will say what they think he did wrong, he can argue that he doesn’t think he did anything wrong and then it’s up to the club board to decide what kind of punishment should be imposed, or if there is a penalty at all.

“In this case, it would be an internal hearing that could lead to him committing serious misconduct and they could terminate the contract.

“Or if they think there’s so much here, they can cut corners and say they don’t need a disciplinary process. They could argue that this was such clear misconduct that they would simply terminate the contract with 14 days’ notice.”

Are there examples of players being released?

In August 2011, Hull City terminated the contract of Jimmy Bullard’s record signing following an incident during a pre-season trip to Slovenia.

Brad was offered a lucrative deal before the end of the 2012-13 season, which led to a legal battle between him and the club. According to reports, the former midfielder finally accepted the settlement agreement, and the two parties signed a non-disclosure agreement.

In 2014, Nicolas Anelka was sacked by West Bromwich Albion for serious misconduct.Anelka – He was banned for five games and fined £80,000 by the FA Quinel His gesture at West Ham – announcing via Twitter that he was terminating his playing contract, which still had three-and-a-half months remaining on it.

Anelka was sacked by West Brom in 2014 for gross misconduct (Photo: John Walton – PA Images via Getty Images)

Following the FA’s ruling, the club have suspended the Frenchman’s full salary and plan to complete their own investigation. West Brom initially said his Twitter statement was “very unprofessional”.

Three hours later, the club revealed they had written to Anelka, giving him 14 days’ notice to terminate his contract, as required by his contract. They say Anelka has failed to apologize for “his influence and consequences” (Quinel) Gesture” or receive a hefty fine, which would result in his suspension being lifted.

Singh believes it would be best to advise United to go through the process, however angry they may be about the interview.

“The safer route is to go through a disciplinary hearing, which we will arrange and you can defend yourself,” he said. “Then we decided on sanctions.

“If they do find him guilty of serious misconduct, which is very rare, the player can still appeal to the Premier League. What is unusual is that the value of a player’s registration is usually very important. Clubs terminate because of the value of a player’s registration. Its registered contracts are rare.

“But here, they’re paying him hundreds of thousands a week and they can’t sell him for big transfer fees. It really changes the dynamic.

“To save yourself £400,000 a week, it might be worth going down this route. In what we’ve seen, there’s enough inflammatory content that may indeed justify serious misconduct.

“They may want to go through the disciplinary process to protect themselves from any allegations of unfair and fair process. Knowing that Ronaldo may challenge them gives them another layer of protection.”

So what might the end result be?

Despite the possibility of tearing up his contract, United may choose to do things amicably and quietly.

As well as criticizing United’s training ground facilities and a host of other damaging observations about its culture, Ronaldo accused the club of showing a lack of “empathy” when his young daughter was hospitalized in July.

Simon Leaf, sporting director at law firm Mishcon de Reya, believes that settling the matter privately may be the best way for the club to avoid further embarrassment.

“The club is in a dilemma,” he said. “(A) the right of termination is subject to Ronaldo’s right of appeal – in particular he appears to be implying that United have breached their duty to take reasonable steps to protect the health and safety of their staff, which could extend to allowing Ronaldo to leave in case.

“There are no easy answers to this particular legal dispute, and, based on experience, one suspects that both Ronaldo and the club will now attempt to resolve it as privately and amicably as possible, given the amount of wages involved and the potential transfer fee that may be foregone. problem, in the hope that both parties will save face.”

(Above: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

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