Polish football for foreigners

by Krzysztof Buczak on 08/28/2019

The English article may seem a bit extraordinary here as I normally blog in Polish, however in my daily practice I receive a number of queries from foreigners and I trust that my post provides the explicit answers to the most common questions, concerning legal matters in Polish football. I hope that those who are playing or consider playing professional football in Poland will find it informative and helpful.

The article will cover the answers for the below questions:

1)      Are there any legal limitations for the foreign football players in Poland?

2)      How much tax a player has to pay?

3)      Which body or authority is entitled to settle a dispute between a club and a player? How that can be applied?

4)      Is there an option for a football player to terminate an agreement with a club unilaterally?

5)      How the player can execute the payment transaction from a club?

Are there any legal limitations for the foreign football players in Poland?

For the past 3 years the clubs which have been playing in Ekstraklasa (the top Polish professional league for men’s association football teams) have not been allowed to designate to play simultaneously more than two players, who have not been European Union citizens (or the citizens of country members of EEA or EFTA). In practice it meant that during one match there could not be more than 2 non-E.U. football players in each team. Moving forward season 2019/2020 this restriction has been abandoned.

However, the above mentioned limitations still do exist in lower divisions, where the teams can designate maximum 1 non-E.U. football player in a given match. It is worth mentioning that in every single case the club is obliged to apply for a work permit and complete statutory requirements for the players who are not the EU citizens.

How much tax a player has to pay?

Individuals with their place of residence in Poland are taxed on their total income, regardless of where the income is earned (unlimited tax obligation in Poland). Individuals who do not have a place of residence in Poland are taxed solely on income earned in Poland (limited tax obligation in Poland).

Natural persons in Poland are subject to personal income tax calculated, as a rule, according to a progressive tax scale. Tax rates vary depending on the income earned, defined as the total revenue minus tax deductible costs, earned in a given taxable year. In 2019, personal income tax is calculated according to the following tax scale:

Taxable base in PLN Tax
more than up to
85,528 18% minus tax-reducing
amount
85,528 32%
of the surplus over PLN 85,528

 

It may also happen that the club will offer the players the possibility to sign a B2B contract (Business to Business agreement). In such a case the player operates as the entrepreneur and at his request may tax his income with the 19% flat-date tax.

It’s important to note that tax authorities in Poland have taken some attempts to question and challenge the practice of qualifying football players as the entrepreneurs.

Which body or authority is entitled to settle a dispute between a club and a player? How that can be applied?

According to Polish Football Association (PZPN) regulations, the Polish clubs are obliged to clearly specify in the contracts concluded with the players, that in case of any contestation, the Arbitration Court of Polish FA shall be a competent body to settle a dispute between the club and the player. In the light of that the Arbitration Court of Polish FA has a jurisdiction for property dispute or a non-property dispute that may be the subject of a settlement. In case of a dispute that concerns existence, validity or termination of football contracts FA Dispute Resolution Chamber is a proper jurisdiction authority. It may happen at times that FIFA bodies may be entitled as well to settle a dispute between the polish clubs and the players.

Is there an option for a football player to terminate an agreement with a club unilaterally?

Yes, it is. According to Polish Football Association (PZPN) regulations the player may unilaterally terminate his contract in the below scenarios:

  • When the club delays with the remuneration payment to the player for the period of at least two months, on condition that, a player calls a club to settle a payment within 14 days’ notice. In the call for payment documents the player shall inform the other party that a non-payment may result with the termination of the agreement,
  • When the club, due to its negligence or fault, has not registered the player to league competition. In that case the declaration of termination of the contract shall be submitted within one month starting from the end of the ‘transfer window’,
  • When the club. due to its fault, has not insured the player against accidents and a player has not been given a proper insurance benefits or if a club did not present on demand of the player within a 14 days, the proof of conclusion of insurance agreement. Declarations of termination shall be submitted within one month from the date of occurrence of any of the above mentioned events,
  • When the club has not provided the player with an adequate medical treatment due to player’s injury (declaration of termination shall be submitted within one month).
  • When the club has been relegated from a league due to other reasons than sport competition results (declaration of termination shall be submitted within one month starting from the date that the judgment relegating a club became valid),

In cases other than mentioned above, the player can apply to the DCR for a termination of his contract.

How the player can execute the payment transaction from a club?

If a player has a legally valid judgment issued by relevant authority, which put the legal obligation for payment on a club, it shall be sent to a national court with the request to grant the enforcement clause. Having such a document the court enforcement officer can commence the enforcement procedure. The clubs’ debts towards the players are taken into consideration along with the license process. As a general rule the club which owes money to the players should not be entitled to perform in a league.

Fot. European Parliament on Trendhype / CC BY-NC-ND

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