The longest serving manager in the Premier League is currently Arsene Wenger, appointed at Arsenal on 30th September 1996. Since the Frenchman’s appointment over 800 managers in the top four divisions of English football have lost their jobs.
Managers who leave a club before their contract has expired will generally receive a substantial figure of compensation in line with their remuneration package. Recent research has illustrated that the average duration for a football manager of an English club to be at the helm is around two years. This two year average is however decreasing; there have been several instances over the past couple of years that demonstrate clubs’ willingness to sack a manager if positive results are not achieved almost instantly.
The total compensation figure to these sacked managers reaches a staggering Â£420 million. The average pay-out to a sacked manager in the Premier League or Football League since September 1996 totals approximately Â£500,000. This average figure, however, relates only to managers and were we to look at compensation packages paid to backroom staff such as assistant managers and coaches, it is estimated that the average figure would easily surpass the Â£1 million mark.
By way of example Chelsea FC have recently shelled out an astonishing Â£40 million to sacked managers under Roman Abramovich – this figure doesn’t take into account the compensation package currently being negotiated for Roberto Di Matteo. The Italian had 18 months left on his Chelsea contract when he was sacked last year. It was reported that Jose Mourinho received around Â£10 million alone when leaving the London club in September 2007.
Critics from within the football industry suggest that inadequate employment practices are the cause of the massive compensation payments. The high payments reflect the fact that football is a highly lucrative industry but also relate to football clubs having breached a number of employment regulations in dismissing a manager and having no real alternative but to award the individual a large amount of compensation. There are also a number of examples at least ‘sloppy’ use of fixed term employment contracts which have led to the need for clubs to pay out disproportionate sums upon termination.
Here at Farleys we have a dedicated team of specialist sports law solicitors who regularly provide expert legal advice on employment issues in football, including contract negotiation and contract disputes. If you have been affected by any of the above then do not hesitate to contact one of our solicitors today who will be able to advise you on the grounds for making or defending a claim.
By Daniel Draper, Sports Lawyer in Manchester