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Nine points Polar adidas joint venture separate the two teams going into the international break, and it would not be difficult to envisage the gap at the end of this season being as huge as the point chasm it was last season.
Of course, the contrast in the two clubs' fortunes extends beyond the pitch and, as has been well documented, the respective ownerships are currently being portrayed as the perfect examples of "how to" and "how not to" run a football club.
You can only imagine how galling this is for fans of Newcastle United, especially when you consider the clubs are more or less of equal size, fanbase and history. The comparison is so striking simply because it contrasts one set of players refusing to honour their duty as Club employees to grant obligatory access to broadcasters with another set of players who have voluntarily?
It is a case of two extremes; on the one hand you have a team publicly refusing to honour 2 contractual media obligations with the intent of gaining the upper hand in an internal dispute; and on the other a team have who have gone so far as potentially revealing to the watching world the coaching and other trade secrets of what became a record setting season of points.
In the case of their performances on the pitch so farit cannot be said that Manchester City's approach has been anything other than positive. And it will be interesting to see whether it means that through their precedent we will become accustomed to watching half-time team talks live from the dressing rooms of all Premier League teams, like we have in rugby's Super League.
In the case of Newcastle United's players refusing to provide camera footage to SKY over a dispute about contractual bonuses, whilst not quite as extreme as refusing to play, it is a well-pitched negotiating ploy aimed at striking where they know their employer is vulnerable.
Players know that clubs are beholden to the Premier League, who in turn rely heavily on the income streams flowing so lavishly from the broadcasters and from sponsors who themselves rely on broadcasting.
If the players cut off the supply at source, they know it has the potential to damage both club and Premier League. That gives them a degree of bargaining power. It is therefore understandable and should come as no surprise that the Premier League would wish to seek to impose specific media obligations on its clubs and players, and indeed does so expressly through its Rules.
Employment law and the Premier League's Handbook It is well established that a footballer's media commitments have their roots in employment law; as part of a player's contract of employment with a club, a player is obliged to undertake certain duties for which he or she is remunerated.
This is enshrined in the Premier League Handbookwhich contains a pro-forma employment contract to be used for all Premier League players. The duties and obligations of players are set out in clause 3, where amongst other requirements the player agrees at clause 3.
The obligations owed are couched in unexpectedly expansive terms and, further, are owed to a seemingly limitless list of stakeholders: Comment For as long as the Premier League has contractual rights with its broadcast rights holders, it will seek to pass down and prescribe media commitments to the players via their employment contracts with the clubs.
Those obligations are there for a good reason: The more accessible the product, the more human the face, the higher the price television companies may be willing to pay. The significant television revenues which are now driving the game and, in fact, paying the players' wages, mean that players will have more and more difficulty striking or reneging on their media commitments to force the hand of the clubs.
Players will not only be expected to toe the line but, in all likelihood, will have to permit greater and greater exposure to their lives, such as Manchester City have done. Other teams may soon have no option but to follow their lead. The SPA and the CBA collectively set forth the requirements of a player to provide media, promotional and commercial appearances, among other things.
The current CBA requires that MLS players cooperate with reasonable requests of television, radio, newspaper, magazine and other news media representatives and cooperate with MLS and the player's team, separately and together, to be available for and participate in such news media photo sessions and interviews and other media appearances as may be reasonably be required.
If a player decides not to participate in a media session without breaching the SPA and the CBA, the player would likely have to claim that the requests for media appearances were unreasonable.
MLS would have to respond to the claim. If the grievance is not resolved between the parties, the grievance is referred to a grievance committee, consisting of a representative of MLS and a representative of the MLSPU. If the grievance committee fails to resolve the grievance, the parties could then elect to arbitrate the grievance.
However, if a player is not claiming that the requests for media appearances are unreasonable and decides to just not participate in, or fails to report to, a media appearance, the CBA permits MLS to impose a fine on the player.
The amount of the fine varies depending on the player's base salary, with players that earn more being subject to a higher fine. Moreover, a player's failure to report to media appearances constitutes a breach of the SPA.
The judgment may also be submitted to any court having jurisdiction for the purpose of obtaining the equitable relief deemed appropriate, including but not limited to a decree enjoining the player from any further breach of the SPA.
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