Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, in May 2020 the Italian Football Association (Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio or simply FIGC) has decided to extend the current football season up to August 31, 2020. This followed FIFA's adoption, in April 2020, of a document (“Covid-19 Football Regulatory Issues”) authorizing its member associations to extend the season beyond June 30, 2020.
On June 2020, Italy resumed its official football competitions, leaving however a high degree of uncertainty as to players' expiring employment contracts in conjunction with the aforementioned extension. This issue has been addressed by FIGC which, on June 22, 2020, enacted a set of non-binding guidelines aimed at shedding light upon the matter.
In a nutshell, in its Official Communication no. 228/A, FIGC splits players into two categories: those subject to employment contracts due to expire on June 30, 2020 and those who are currently on loan at clubs with obligations or options to buy:
- With reference to players holding contracts expiring on June 30, 2020, the extension (up to August 31, 2020) will be subject to the relevant player signing a specific form. In this case, the player registration for the 2020/2021 football season will run as of September 1, 2020;
- On the other hand, players at clubs on loan with option or obligation to buy deals, will have their contract extended automatically until the end of the 2019/2020 football season, i.e. on August 31, 2020.
An important consequence of the above will be that, in case of agreement on the extension (up to August 31, 2020) of the contract relating to players who are registered on a temporary basis, the fixed portion of their gross salary will be recalculated as follows:
- as to the 2019/2020 season, on the basis of 14 monthly instalments (calculated by dividing the amount due for the month of June into equal instalments for the months of June, July and August);
- as to the 2020/2021 season, on the basis of 10 monthly accruals for the same amount starting from the month of September.
Finally, FIGC clarified that any agreement between clubs and players for the re-evaluation of their fixed portion of gross salary relating to the months of March and/or April and/or May and/or June 2020, as lodged with the applicable football league, shall be deemed as settling any dispute deriving from the COVID-19 outbreak. Therefore, the relevant parties may neither undertake further cause of action nor raise claims relating to such agreement.