Footballer Wayne Rooney has avoided a £4.3 million pay out after Proactive Sports Management Ltd appeal was only allowed in part. The eight year image rights representation agreement was held to be unenforceable as it was a restraint on trade.
The Court upheld the previous decision of the Manchester Mercantile Court rejecting the argument that Proactive’s restrictions were reasonable. Further it was held that at the age of 17 Rooney was unable to have the commercial nous to negotiate such a contract
and was not aware of the consequences such restrictive clauses would have.
The Court allowed part of the appeal stating that ‘payable’ was to be interpreted to mean when sums owed became payable not when they were received. This entitled Proactive to commission after the agreement was terminated based on contracts it had negotiated.
The decision is a significant win not just for Rooney but for footballers in general. The ruling shifts the power in sports away from agents towards individual players. With the eight year exclusive period being deemed an unenforceable contract, the shift
seems to be moving towards Fifa’s recommendation that a reasonable period should be capped at two years. The ruling also acknowledges that for many sports personalities their primary profession is now as much about endorsement and advertising as it is about
the sport they play.
To discuss how we can provide further advice in connection with these issues, please contact Damian Carter, Partner in our Dispute Resolution team, by email to
email@example.com or alternatively you can call Damian on 0161 833 9211.
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