Dear Nigerian footballer, before you sign that contract,
You have the right to an attorney, and if you can’t afford one, your club might not appoint one for you.
It is always a happy moment for players when penning deals with their new clubs. Huge salaries, bonuses and other incentives. But then, before signing that contract, a lot goes on behind the scene, especially regarding the contract, your contract.
Tunde is a 21-year-old footballer in search of a football club. He receives and offer from Machine United, and he signs the contract, without having any idea what certain clauses mean. He has no idea he is entitled to being paid for the use of his image by the club or sponsors. He has no idea he can negotiate certain terms with the club. All Tunde wants is a contract. He signs the contract and thinks it is settled, not having any idea what certain clauses in the contract mean.
Before signing that contract, it is always important to have a lawyer go through the contract. For example, for a contract to be valid, it must contain what is called essentialia negotii. This basically includes the names of the parties, the signatures of the parties, the object, the salary and bonuses payable by the club to the player, as well as the duration of the contract. Thus, should Tunde sign a contract which allows the club slash his salary and bonuses based on certain reasons such as – poor performance, it would be deemed illegal by the DRC. However, Tunde does not know about this because Tunde just wants a contract, and now Tunde has a contract.
It is not unusual for clubs to insert terms that would favour them while negotiating or drafting a contract. It is also not unusual for the club’s lawyer to have the interest of the club in mind while drafting the contract.
So, before putting pen to paper and committing your future to the club, please try to do the following:
• Get a lawyer
• Listen to advice from your lawyer
• Whatever clause you do not understand, ask your lawyer to explain it to you.
• Finally, please pay your lawyer for the service rendered.