Contract Negotiation Retirement Sports Law

Back so soon?

An interesting case has emerged in the Australian Football League (AFL) which may have repercussions worldwide.

Mal Michael retired from the Brisbane Lions at the end of this season, with one year remaining on his contract. Thus, his one year was voided as he ended his career.

Just yesterday, he announced that he has signed a two year deal with the Essendon Bombers. He will be drafted in the pre-season draft. Therefore, just six weeks after retirement he is playing again.

The problem that arises is that Brisbane recieved no compensation whatsoever for this move. With one year left on his contract at his previous club, he should not be allowed to move to another club unless terms are reached between his former and prospective club.

The AFL are looking into this move, but initially have reported they see no grounds to block the contract..

So what implications does this have for sports agents? It sets a precedent that could enable many players to void their contracts in the future. Almost like a get-out-of-jail-free card.

If a player is unhappy with their club, they can call it quits on their career, and sign with the club of their choice with no liability whatsoever.

I am not suggesting Mal Michael had intent to harm the club that treated him so well, but if the contract was to pass then this case may act as an example for playing contracts in the future beyond the AFL.

Thanks to Fox Sports for the story.

– Chris Lesley

2 replies on “Back so soon?”

i found this piece by Chris Lesley very informative and interesting. How can a player do such a thing even under contract. I understand that a professional athlete like Mal Michael can have a change of heart but under the guidelines of a binding contract, is he able to switch teams?
well done Chris on an interesting blog!

This won’t set a precedent for other sports. In the big 3 (NFL, MLB & NBA) I’m sure this is covered in the respective CBAs.

This is extremely rare and not possible in other sports. You’d think the AFL would have such an agreement as to protect the teams from such events.

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