Bonn Interview. Baskets player Joshiko Saibou attended the large protest event in Berlin last weekend. A sports lawyer from Bonn explains the legal possibilities for a club in the Saibou case.
The Joshiko Saibou case poses a great challenge for Telekom Baskets. Roland Nasse from the Bonn law firm Schmitz Knoth explains the legal and disciplinary means available to the basketball Bundesliga club in relation to its player. Matthias Kirch spoke with the specialist lawyer for sports law.
What legal options does a club have if a player does not adhere to the currently applicable Corona measures?
Roland Nasse: If a player - as in the case of Joshiko Saibou - deliberately goes to Berlin to take part in a demonstration in disregard of any rules, including the Infection Protection Act, I would dismiss him immediately as a club. It is not only a question of common sense not to participate there, but is also based on a player's duty of loyalty to his club. If a player becomes infected there, he must be placed in quarantine and is not available to his team. And if he should have infected teammates, an entire league could be in jeopardy.
So a club can easily part with a player for club-damaging behaviour in such a case?
Nasse: If it's just his personal opinion that doesn't suit the club, that's not enough. Freedom of opinion is more important. But it almost amounts to negligent bodily injury if I expose myself to these dangers in Berlin and thus endanger my fellow men and team colleagues.
So if there were a trial following a dismissal, would the club be on the safe side?
Nasse: We lawyers are always cautious with this wording, especially in labour courts. The safer way here would be to give the player another warning and make it clear to him that he will be fired if he does it again. Personally, it would be too much for me now, I would dismiss him.
Are there clauses in sports contracts that clubs use to protect themselves against club-injurious behaviour by a player?
Nasse: In team sports, there is often a clause stating that a player must behave in such a way in private and in public that it does not damage the club's reputation. However, it is often difficult to draw conclusions from this, as it is a matter of interpretation as to when behaviour is damaging to the club. In the case described, however, the club must accept the views expressed by the player in the social media on the pandemic measures. This does not constitute grounds for termination. This is certainly covered by the freedom of expression.
Original text: Matthias Kirch
Translation: Mareike Graepel