(Not) - Little impact of the Anti-Crisis Shield on the sport?

The economic crisis and a number of restrictions related to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic have left their mark not only on the direct activity of the services, trade, hotel or catering industry, but above all in the world of sport. Canceled or deferred events involving football, speedway, volleyball and summer Olympic Games are not only harmful to the athletes themselves, but also to the organizers, coaches, sports activists, the media, marketing and hotel industries.

„Defrosting of sport”

The second stage of defrosting sport, which was introduced today (i.e. May 4, 2020) on the basis of the Regulation of the Council of Ministers of May 2nd, 2020 on establishing specific orders and bans in connection with the occurrence of the state of the epidemic (hereinafter as the ,,Regulation’’) gives a substitute for returning to normal training for team game players.

This Regulation allows conducting sports trainings in an open sports infrastructure (pitches, ‘’orliki’’, sports stadiums, but not in rooms or halls) in groups of a maximum of 6 people plus a trainer regardless of the size of the pitch.

The content of the above Regulation is also a kind of tribute to the games of the highest professional football league in Poland – Ekstraklasa, which teams are able to train in a 13-person group (anticipating that it will be 13 players plus one coach) from May 4th, 2020 and they will be able to return to normal training from May 10th, 2020 because the Regulation, in paragraph 20, provides that, “In stadiums and pitches in the field of organization of sport competition by a professional league in the highest league of football may be present without the participation of the public at the same time: 1) from May 4th until May 9th, 2020, no more than 14 people using these facilities, excluding their operation; 2) from 10th May to 24th May 2020, no more than 25 people using these facilities, excluding their operation”

Abovementioned provision means Ekstraklasa games, which value of television rights is assed at several hundred million zlotys, should start already in May 2020, without the participation of the public.

Benefits for players and managers

Competitors/players or coaches in amateur and professional sports are most often associated with their clubs and sponsors with civil law contracts (mandate contract, contract for specific work), including cooperation contracts, if they perform activities as so-called self-employed.

Due to restrictions and „economic downtime”, the self-employed may be entitled to a number of concessions and benefits, which we described in the Article ANTI-CRISIS POLICY FOR SELF-EMPLOYED.
Players and trainers who do not run a business or are not employed under an employment contract can also benefit from financial support and mostly they can apply for it through their clubs – such financial support may be due up to a maximum of PLN 2,080 (80% of the minimum salary, it is not taxed and no social contributions are paid from it), if the contractor in the month preceding the submission of the application had an income lower by at least 15% from the revenue obtained in the month preceding that month (e.g. in April 2020, he earned 20% less than in March 2020).

Importantly, the Act of March 31st, 2020 amending the Act on special solutions related to the prevention and eradication of COVID-19, other infectious diseases and crisis situations caused by them, as well as some other acts (the so-called Anti-crisis Shield 1.0), i.e. expanded support for competitors who are members of the national team which sports scholarships are financed from the funds of the Ministry of Sport in connection with the implementation of the preparation program for the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, World Championships or Europe Championship.

Article no. 15zzo of the Anti-crisis shield 1.0. provides that the period for which sports scholarships referred to in art. 32 and 32a of the Act of June 25th, 2010 on Sport may be further extended, but not later than one year from the date of cancellation of the epidemic status. As today (May 4th, 2020), the epidemic is still in force in Poland – so competitors can count on being able to receive the scholarship at least until May 5, 2021.

The possibility of claiming a refund for pre-payment for the rental of sports facilities

Act of April 9th, 2020 on specific support instruments in connection with the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the so-called Anti-crisis Shield 2.0.) introduces the possibility of receiving a refund of pre-payment paid for the implementation of a contract related to recreational and sporting activities, when the termination of the contract is directly related to restrictions resulting from COVID-19.

This means, for example, that an entrepreneur providing premises or areas for conducting sporting events (e.g. OSiR) may be required to return funds paid for the advance payment for the organization of a given sporting event.

Facilitation for Polish Sports Associations?

Each Polish sports association operates on the basis of Article 7 of the Sporting Act, i.e. in relation to organize and compete in a given sport. For Polish sports associations, in matters not covered by the Act on sport, shall apply the Act of 7 April 1989 Law on Associations.

Article 18 of the Shield 2.0. allowed members of the association’s authorities to vote outside meetings using electronic means of communication. This is undoubtedly a great organizational facilitation for the board of Polish sports associations, whose members are often a group of a dozen people – a representative from each provincial sports association.

What’s more, Shield 2.0. provides that „In the event of the expiry of the term of office of the bodies of the Polish sports association until June 30, 2021, the term of office of these bodies shall be extended not longer than until September 30, 2021.”

This provision seems controversial because its content indicates that it is obligatory, so even against the intention of the authorities: the Polish Football Association, the Polish Athletics Association or the Polish Volleyball – obviously until the potential amendment of the provision.

This article is for informational purposes only and should under no circumstances be treated as a legal opinion or advice.

In order to obtain more detailed information under which circumstances relief or grant is available or any other legal aid, please contact a DT’s lawyer.

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2020-05-06 12:33

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