With the expected return of Robert Lewandowski to the training ground, the debate about his future will pick up speed again. From a legal point of view, the situation is clear.

Vacation snapshots show Robert Lewandowski again and again in Spain. Does his sporting future also lie there? There is constant speculation about whether the 33-year-old will switch to FC Barcelona.

First of all, the world footballer is expected to return to FC Bayern training next week, and they don’t want to let him go. At least not for the rumored transfer fee of 40 million euros. The question will be clarified at the latest by the transfer deadline on September 1st.

What is the status of Robert Lewandowski?

There hasn’t been anything really new for weeks. Lewandowski wants to go to Barça, the Bayern bosses refer to the contract. “We’re happy when he shows up with us on the first day of training,” said CEO Oliver Kahn when new star Sadio Mané was presented. It is speculated that Kahn

What is the legal situation?

The contract of Munich’s top earner Lewandowski is dated until June 30, 2023. “In the absence of an exit clause, he has to fulfill this without ifs and buts,” says Munich sports law expert Thomas Summerer (62) of the German Press Agency. «A termination, for example because of ‘lack of emotions’, is of course just as absurd as in other employment relationships. An appeal to Article 17 of the FIFA Transfer Regulations is also unrealistic, since Lewandowski would expose himself to a high risk of damages in the millions if he breached the contract. Article 17 regulates the consequences of terminating a contract without just cause.

What options does a player have to force a change – for example through a strike?

At least legally, a strike has no advantage for the professional. «Contracts with a fixed term must be observed, that is an iron principle in German law. Therefore, no player can force a change, especially not through a strike, »said Summerer, President of the German Association for Sports Law. “If he does not show up for training or if he violates the instructions of his trainer, he is threatened with a warning and a reduction in salary. If he intentionally plays badly, he harms himself and his good reputation.”

Lewandowski said his story at Bayern was over. Does the club have to put up with that?

“This statement, which was also repeated by his advisor, is a clear crossing of borders and the threat of a breach of contract,” says Summerer. “In such a case, a club can demand a cease-and-desist declaration from the player and a commitment to compliance with the contract, if necessary also in an urgent procedure before the Munich Regional Court. In addition, the club could legally enforce an employment ban against a club that attracts the player and induces him to breach the contract. » Legal steps against Lewandowski are not to be expected, but the Bayern bosses certainly do not like his statements.

Is Lewandowski’s situation comparable to that before moving from Dortmund to Bayern?

Not really, even if it was contractually similar. Lewandowski wanted to go to Munich a year before the end of his contract in Dortmund, but BVB wouldn’t let him. But there was more salary for the striker, who thanked it with goals and became Bundesliga top scorer for the first time in 2014. At that time he still had most of his career ahead of him, now it’s probably about his last big contract. Since the Pole does not want to be patient.

How is the players’ union monitoring the situation?

Ulf Baranowsky, Managing Director of the players’ union VDV, warns against “passing the buck to the players, because they are often at the mercy of the economic interests of clubs and players’ agents”. He does not comment specifically on the case, but rather in principle. “Public tug-of-war over transfers is not a new development and can be viewed with a certain degree of composure due to the clear legal situation. It usually only applies to isolated cases. Most transfers are quiet, »he told the German Press Agency.

Are there any well-known pros who have forced a change?

The most prominent example in the Bundesliga is probably Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembélé, who went on a training strike in the summer of 2017 to move to Barcelona. Ultimately, he was allowed to go for a record fee. Hakan Calhanoglu took sick leave from Hamburger SV in 2014. As soon as he arrived at Bayer Leverkusen, he reported that he was fit again. Again and again there is trouble, but such escalations are rare. Lewandowski has so far been considered a model professional, and a strike on his part is not to be expected.