Brief analysis of Griezmann's restricted playing minutes case
Updated: Sep 10, 2022
Been getting lots of messages regarding the Griezmann/FC Barcelona/Atletico de Madrid contract matter. Since I have not seen the contract it’s practically impossible to form an opinion on the matter. However here are some generic comments and a brief legal analysis of the case based on the information that media outlets are publishing.
Allegedly, Barça loaned Griezmann for two years with an obligatory buy-option that would be triggered if the player plays more than 50% of the games for which he is available (all games except if injured or sanctioned).
However a possible loophole, allegedly used by Atletico de madrid, consists of not letting the player reach 45 minutes on the pitch during a particular match. Accordingly, matches only count as played when a player has played 45 minutes or more. Ever since the beginning of the new season Atletico has been very calculative and has not let the player play for more than even 30 minutes as of late.
Strictly looking at the amount of games Griezmann played last year, the player did in fact surpass the threshold in terms of minutes and amount of games played. According to this plain interpretation and calculation, Atletico already triggered the buy-option, owns Barça a total sum of 40 million euros and Griezmann would permanently belong to Atletico de madrid.
However, as reported the clause in question seems to be ambiguous and does not stipulate clearly whether this calculation should only be considered by the end of the 2 year loan period, or per year. If per year, Atletico would have already triggered the clause by the end of last season.
In conclusion, the questions to be answered are various. For Barça to successfully sue Atletico de Madrid they would have to prove the club is acting/has acted in bad faith and is therefor not complying with the contract stipulations by effectively barring the player from gaining more game-time, for no other reason but monetary incentives.
The player on his behalf seems to have accepted the club’s strategic decision and even if not, wouldn’t have much legal basis to fight the club's discretion of giving him playing minutes.
Further developments of the case will be published on the blog!