By Maximilian Clarke

Carlos Tevez’ high-profile disciplining by Manchester City FC over what amounts to his refusal to play has raised the issue of how to approach breaches of contract.

The Argentinian striker was fined £800,000 for not warming up when substituting during a match at Munich’s Allianz Arena, which was interpreted as a refusal to play. Commentators note that a flat refusal to adhere to the terms of a contract would see most people fired, and that he got off lightly due to his talents.

Discussing the fine and the legal implications of the Argentinian striker’s disobedience is Roger Bull, Head of Employment at Burges Salmon LLP:

"On Tuesday this week Manchester City fined Carlos Tevez four weeks' wages for alleged breaches of contract. It seems that Tevez has avoided possible dismissal. Many observers, who saw his alleged refusal to play as indefensible, will be asking why. It is possible that the decision owed more to commercial considerations than to legal ones; could City really bear to have lost their prized asset for nothing?

Those of us without his mercurial talents and huge value may not have been so lucky - refusing to comply with a reasonable instruction is a sure fire way get disciplined and, depending on the circumstances, could lead to a fair dismissal. Some may think that the message to footballers seems to be "do what you like". The message to the rest of us, though, remains "disobey your manager at your peril".


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