Analyzing Pre-Contracts Agreement in Professional Footballer Contracts in Saudi Arabia: Can Players Change Their Minds?

  •  Ammar Alrefaei    


FIFA's (The Fédération Internationale de Football Association) regulation and Saudi professional player's regulation allow footballers and their agents to start negotiating new deals with third parties in the last six months of the contracts. Some players and agents may use this period to initiate bidding wars between rival clubs by entering pre-contracts with an alleged possibility of terminating them at no cost. There is growing evidence of such practices in Saudi Arabia after revoking the salary cap rule in professional football contracts. This article analyses this issue through the lens of the existing legal treatment of pre-contracts by FIFA, CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport), and applicable national laws (Swiss and English). Based on the findings, a series of propositions are made to introduce into the future regulations governing Saudi football leagues. The goal of such propositions is to avoid misapplication of pre-contracts, maintain contractual stability, encourage negotiations in good faith, and promote competitiveness without reducing contractual flexibility for players in the wake of salary cap cancellation.

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