Richard Cramer’s thoughts on the implementation of the fining system at Chelsea and what this means for other non-sporting businesses

From what we have read it would appear that timekeeping has improved dramatically this season at Chelsea under the stewardship of Frank Lampard. The link here probably explains why. It's clearly working and it would appear there is complete harmony within the group of players and staff. It brings about discipline and is therefore no surprise Chelsea appear to be much improved this season. The question therefore many business owners will be asking themselves is whether this type of imposition of fines can be brought into the workplace. The answer is in all probability "no" as any fines imposed upon staff and employees could be regarded as an unlawful deduction of wages. So why does it work at Chelsea and more than likely at other sporting organisations? It's probably regarded as a voluntary code of conduct. Interesting it would appear Chelsea operate on the basis that the players pay the fines out of their own pockets rather than having their monthly wages deducted. The bottom line is that Chelsea in all likelihood could not force the players to pay these fines but if it's regarded as a voluntary system then there is nothing unlawful about it. In all likelihood the system probably works for coaches as well as players. It creates a collective disciplined approach with the employees recognising their duties owed to the club and to their fellow players and coaches. The system of fines need to be precise and consistent. The moment there is any form of relaxation of the rules would create tension amongst the team. However so far it appears to be working and Chelsea have probably formed the view that the fine system is more of a deterrent so that the players recognise the importance of timekeeping. Before anybody gets too excited it would be highly dangerous to introduce something similar into an organisation other than at a sporting club. __________________________________________________ Front Row Legal are a boutique law firm that specialises in Sport, Media and Business Law in England and Wales. They have specialist knowledge in these areas of law, which means they can help where many law firms won’t have the experience. They are based in Leeds with a national client base.

Published November 14, 2019

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