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The Legal Framework of Sports Activity Contracts in Romania

Actualizată în: 4 mai 2020

Based on Law no. 90/2018 amending Law no. 69/2000 of physical education and sports, the activities carried out by high-performance athletes on the Romanian territory are considered to be independent activities and the sports activity contracts are subject to the regulations of the Romanian Civil Code. Such a legal framework is debatable since an independent activity implies, among others, the free choice of the activity, the work schedule and the place of the activity, aspects that, obviously, do not come into question regarding the performance athlete. Prior to this legislative change, the legal relations concluded between athletes, coaches and auxiliary staff with sports clubs were concluded on the basis of an individual employment contract, regulated by the Labor Code. The difference in legal regime has an impact not only on the fiscal regime of athletes' incomes but also on the legal consequences arising from the contracts signed. And I am referring here to the situation of the unilateral termination of the sports activity contract at the initiative of the parties, a particularly controversial subject in the current state of pandemic. According to art. 1270 of the new Romanian Civil Code, a valid concluded contract has the force of a law between the contracting parties and can be modified or terminated only by mutual agreement of the parties or for reasons authorized by law. According to the Order of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports no. 631/2017, the sports activity contract is concluded according to a framework model, and the parties have the right to introduce specific, negotiated clauses. Among the cases of termination of the contract is the situation of unilateral termination, with the prior notification of the other party. In fact, the athlete is conditioned by the non-payment of two consecutive months of salary by the club and prior to this date, he (she) is sanctioned with a considerable amount, as penal clause, for the  unilateral termination of the contract. In the case of the club there is no such contractual sanction for unilateral termination of the contract. The arguments presented hereto lead to the conclusion that the sports activity contracts concluded in Romania are sui generis contracts and  their interpretation shall  be made as per the will of the parties at the time of concluding the contract and in accordance with the provisions of the Romanian Civil Code and the specific laws and regulations for the sport activity in force.

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