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Impact of the Latest Carlos Tevez Affair

Posted on: 7 October 2011

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"The Carlos Tevez and Manchester City affair rumbles on with the most recent incident involving the multi million pound player seemingly refusing to play as a substitute against Bayer Munich. Unsurprisingly this resulted in wide spread criticism and disgust, a view apparently shared and aired by Man City boss Roberto Mancini publicly saying that Carlos Tevez was "finished".

Prior to this Carlos Tevez has made no secret of his desire to leave. So where do Man City stand as an "Employer"?

Tevez primary contractual obligation is to play football for Man City, a fundamental term which he refused to comply with. Ordinarily this would be viewed as a fundamental breach of contract, gross insubordination and a breakdown in mutual trust and confidence any of which could be grounds for summary dismissal - the reality however is that Football is an industry in itself where the players usually hold the cards given the fact that they are not merely employees but also commercial assets, Tevez is undoubtedly worth millions to Manchester City.

Mancini could discipline Tevez but what example does that set for the rest of the squad when they may also become disaffected in the future?

One option would be to treat the contract as repudiated by Carlos Tevez, allow him to leave but bring an action for damages against Tevez for the losses they suffer. However time is of the essence to act on a breach - a delay could result in Manchester City waiving their right to rely on the breach. Further there is the concern that Tevez could beat them to it.

Arguably Tevez may have grounds to walk away and claim constructive dismissal after Mancini publicly stated Tevez was finished there! There is some recent case law which states that an employee who is himself in repudiatory breach cannot rely on his employers subsequent repudiatory breach to resign and claim unfair dismissal and breach of contract.

Although this affair is a million miles away from the realities of day to day business it nevertheless serves as a reminder of some of the difficulties employers can face when confronted with difficult employees. When matters like this arise employers need to respond quickly, but carefully after considering all available options and taking legal advice."

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