By Marzia De Giuli
MILAN, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Italian lawyer Adriano Raffaelli said former Chinese national team coach Jose Antonio Camachohe seemed justified to demand a staggering amount of compensation money from Chinese Football Association (CFA) after he was sacked by the latter as Chinese national team head coach.
The CFA chose to end Camacho's contract following a 5-1 home defeat to a second-string Thailand side on June 15, and the former Spain and Real Madrid coach brought his dispute with CFA for arbitration after the Chinese side reportedly refused to pay his salary of the 18 months remaining on the contract, which amounts to nearly 10 million euros (around 13 million U.S. dollars).
Commenting on the ongoing dispute, Raffaelli, a Milan-based expert at football law who is among other things a lawyer of Inter, told Xinhua in a recent interview that Camacho's demand conforms to what is legally called "the rule" of all short-term contracts.
"Everyone in the same situation would behave in this way, because contracts between football associations and coaches are usually ironclad in favor of the latter," he said. As a general rule, he added, the coach has a right to be remunerated until the time limit of the service contractually established, irrespective of whether he is exonerated.
"The word 'exoneration' is normally used instead of layoff, meaning that the coach in fact is not sacked but is dismissed from his service," he said. "Therefore the football association has to continue to remunerate him."
The CFA reportedly argued that Camacho failed to bring out expected results with the Chinese team, but Raffaelli held that this argument would not be sufficient to terminate a contract.
He said that good reasons should include failure to fulfill contractual obligations, "for example in case the coach skips training, makes offensive comments about the CFA or mistreats players."
Therefore, should the team's bad performance be the unique explanation for CFA to terminate their contract with Camacho, the Chinese side would probably be the looser if this dispute is brought to FIFA, Raffaelli said.
The Italian expert advised CFA to be prepared for a out-of- court settlement of this contractual dispute as this kind of events are "unlikely to come to a final verdict" and international football contractual issues are generally solved with settlements. He said the exoneration of coaches and consequent disputes are "routine occurrences" which just have to do with legal matters thus "do not usually adversely affect on one's image."
The only peculiarity of this case, the Italian lawyer added, was that a coach was dismissed by a governing body of football. Should the CFA persist in its position, the next coach considering to collaborate with the Chinese side would be certainly aware of his partner's punctiliousness, he said.
But in his view, given that "it is not good for two parts which have worked together to end in a judicial dispute, it is good rule to make every effort to reach a settlement, even in the most severe situations, thanks to good will on both sides and efforts at conciliation of disciplinary commissions". For this reason, Raffaelli said he could imagine that "after arguing for some time, the two sides would reasonably reach an agreement which is in everyone's best interest."
The expert also noted that Camacho himself probably looks forward to a quick settlement with which he can seek his next job.
If the CFA has included a withdrawal clause in the contract, according to which the football association can dissolve the relation by paying a penalty, this was already a good move that can help the Chinese side in the dispute settlement, Raffaelli said.
"However, when contracts with very high salary numbers are signed in the football field, costs are always very high despite any carefulness, which in fact can be considered too risky for one of the parts," he noted.
In his view, besides setting penalties which is the most traditional preventative measure in making a contract, an "ideal" behavior would be trying to avoid contracts with record-high wage numbers.
"Football clubs and associations could better protect themselves by setting lower basic wages that would be enriched with a possible system of bonus that are awarded only if positive results are achieved," the Italian lawyer suggested.