Premier League clubs will have the power to fine stars if they refuse to play during the coronavirus crisis.
Plans are being drawn up for top division players to return to training later this month with a view of resuming the season in June.
But stars may have concerns over their wellbeing and top sports lawyer David Seligman, of Brandsmiths law firm, explains how all the power is in the club’s hands – but he cannot see any repercussions such as fines being enforced.
“The clubs would have the power to fine but I don’t think they would exercise the ability to do that because it would be a PR disaster,” Seligman told Express Sport.
“From a PR point of view, if there are certain players who refuse to play, I can’t see clubs forcing players to play.”
Premier League chiefs are in constant communication with the UK government which should enable them to pass on any blame if players get infected.
“Matches would not be played unless the government allow it to be played,” Seligman added. “For me, that exonerates any liability on the clubs.
“The only other issue is, which is interesting from a player’s point of view, if the government advises you can play and you refuse to play technically I would say you are in breach of your contract.
“If you don’t want to play because you think it’s the wrong thing to do or you think it will be dangerous, well who are you to think it is dangerous if the government thinks it’s not? That’s the primary position that I would say.
“People know what footballers are like and people don’t want to appear weak. Also people want to show their worth all the time to keep their position in the team.
“I don’t think you’ll find any players that would refuse to play if the government says it’s ok to play.”
Another major complication which could arise from football’s return sits with players who are asthmatic and fall into the ‘high risk’ category.
“The issue you could have is if you have an asthmatic player and he turns around and says ‘Look I know the government is allowing us to play but I’m asthmatic so I’m not going to play’,” Seligman says.
“If the club turns around and says ‘Well you’re in breach of your contract so I’m not going to pay you’ then you get into the argument of the Equality Act and the discriminatory of the employer.
“Because he is asthmatic he shouldn’t be treated any differently.
“If there are underlying health issues they wouldn’t justify [fining them] because you would be looking into discriminatory conduct.”