Due to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, the I-League 2019-20 season had to be suspended indefinitely with a minimum of four rounds of football matches still left to be played. With there being no guarantee that the league will resume, and talks of a possible cancellation ongoing, clubs are bracing to cut their losses.
As per a report in the Times of India, several I-league clubs have been forced to start activating the 'Force Majeure' clause in player contracts.
Force Majeure is clause 5.6 in Schedule 2 of the general provisions of the Standard Contract which states that "failure by a party to fulfill any of its obligations under the agreement shall not be considered to be a breach of, or a default under, the agreement in so far as the inability arises from an event of force majeure."
This basically means that the footballers are set to lose their salaries for the remainder of the season. "We are forced to take this step. The players will not like this, they will protest, but we are left with no choice," a club owner was quoted saying by TOI.
A few clubs, in fact, have clauses in their contracts that state the players will be paid till their last competitive match. The last I-League match was held on March 14, which means that players will not receive their salaries for April and May, unless, of course, the I-League resumes.
"I know of some clubs who are not even paying March salaries, but we will not do that. We played games in March, so will respect our commitment. The players know that they cannot demand for salaries beyond that, if the AIFF decides to cancel the league," Gokulam Kerala FC owner VC Praveen told TOI.
Foreigners, and a few other players, whose contracts run out at the end of the season, could lose more than the others. Termination notices have already been served to them with no specified timeline on when the dues will be cleared.
Although the general consensus is that the last match of the I-League 2019-20 season has already been played, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is expected to take a final call next week.