Referees are not employees: Deutscher Fußball-Bund e.V., the German Football Association, successfully defends an appeal with Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek

Following Hessian Regional Labor Court‘s March 15, 2018 ruling (9 Sa 1399/16) that no employment relationship exists between Deutscher Fußball-Bund e.V. (DFB) and Dr. Dittrich, the grounds for the judgement were issued today. The Regional Labor Court held that the agreement between the DFB and the soccer referees is not an employment relationship. The ruling is of key importance for the DFB, since millions in social security contributions may have become payable if referees had been classified as employees. In addition, the DFB would have 100 more employees on its payroll. Dr. Johan-Michel Menke (Litigation) and Dr. Thomas Schulz represented the DFB in the appeal proceedings.
Dittrich, however, already announced that he would not simply accept the Hessian Regional Labour Court ruling and, as an appeal on grounds of errors of law was not admitted, will lodge a non-admission complaint with the Federal Labor Court in Erfurt.
Menke considers the Regional Labor Court ruling as a fundamental decision for refereeing: “The decision is to be welcomed because it takes account of the specific nature of sports. The integrity of competition will be strengthened while emphasizing the special role of referees.“

Counsel to Deutscher Fußball-Bund e.V.
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek:

Dr. Johan-Michel Menke (Litigation),
Dr. Thomas Schulz (both Employment Law, Hamburg)

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