Bonus payments are the cream on the pie for many players but not rarely their payment can not be enforced.. Hereunder I describe the problems and suggest a few solutions.
A player who submits a claim with the FIFA DRC for unpaid bonuses carries the burden of proof. This proof is delivered in 2 steps:
- Proof that a bonus clause exists, and
- Proof that the bonus condition has been met.
Ad 1. Proof of a bonus clause.
In general the DRC only awards claimed bonuses if parties have agreed to such bonuses in writing.1
Normally the employment contract or annex contains a simple or more extensive bonus clause. No matter what oral promises have been made by the club if there is no evidence in writing of a bonus clause a claim for bonuses will be dismissed.
Ad 2. Proof that the bonus condition has been met.
Bonuses depend on the occurrence of a condition such a match played or an achieved (team) ranking. After the player has proven that the bonus clause exists he will have to proof that the condition has been met. The Player will have to submit during a procedure ‘supporting documentation relating […] to outstanding bonuses’ .2
A simple reference to online websites operated by unofficial football bodies will not do the trick.
One moment the player thinks he received a bonus payment and the next moment it turns out he did not. This most unpleasanthocus pocus surprise awaits the player who fails to deliver the proof that he is entitled to due bonus payment(s) and who has already received one or more full or partial unspecified bonus payments.
Not only will his claim be denied but the payments already received will be deducted from due salary payments.
- Stipulate bonuses extensively in the contract.
- Collect an official copy of the clubs bonus regulations in the event the contract refers to such regulations.
- Make sure that payments are distinguisable.
- Reverse proof of matches played, or make sure that you have solid proof that conditions have been met before they are claimed in (arbitration) court.
- Ask a legal professional for advise before the employment contract is signed.