NEW DELHI: The financial impact of coronavirus pandemic on Indian sport is beginning to take shape with I-League clubs reportedly preparing to minimise their losses by activating the ‘Force Majeure’ clause in player contracts.
The clubs have already issued termination notices to a few footballers, particularly overseas players, whose contracts are valid till May when the season was originally scheduled to end. That was before the season was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic-induced lockdown.
Other players will get paid till their last competitive match, meaning they won’t get any salary for April or May unless the season resumes.
As per a clause in players contracts, “failure by a party to fulfill any of its obligations under the agreement shall not be considered to be a breach of, or a default under, the agreement in so far as the inability arises from an event of Force Majeure”, Times of India reports.
An unnamed club owner told the daily that they were left with no choice. “We are forced to take this step. The players will not like this, they will protest, but we are left with no choice,” the owner said.
Gokulam Kerala FC owner VC Praveen claimed some clubs are not even paying salaries for March despite having played matches last month. “I know of some clubs who are not even paying March salaries, but we will not do that. We played games in March, so will respect our commitment. The players know that they cannot demand for salaries beyond that, if the AIFF decides to cancel the league,” Praveen told the daily.
With Mohun Bagan already having been declared winners of I-League 2019-20 by virtue of the points racked up at the time of the league's suspension, the All India Football Federation is expected to take a call whether the season will resume.