A host of East Bengal footballers, including Spaniard Jaime Santos, have sent notices to the club's former investors Quess asking for salaries for the months of April and May. East Bengal and Bengaluru-based Quess parted ways on May 31.
A few Indian players like Abhishek Ambekar, and Pintu Mahata had multiple-year contracts with the red and golds and were up in arms against Quess East Bengal FC's 'unilateral decision' to apply Force Majeure clause in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and terminate the deals.
Spaniard Santos was the only foreigner to have a multiple-year contract.
"The Indian players with one year or multi-year contracts have sent Quess notices asking them to pay their two-month salary (April and May) through us," a Football Players Association of India (FPAI) official told IANS on Tuesday.
It has been learnt from reliable sources that Santos has also sent a notice to Quess via the Spanish players' association.
"The players with multi-year contracts would have the right to terminate the contract and claim compensation from the club if Quess East Bengal do not pay the salaries," the official who did not want to be quoted, added.
It has also been learnt that Quess East Bengal, in their reply, has said once the player puts pen to paper on the Mutual Termination Agreement (MTA), salary will be settled.
"But when they applied the Force Majeure clause due to the pandemic, it was done unilaterally. So where does talk of mutual termination come from?" the official said.
"In their (Quess) reply, they have also given the example of the league in Egypt being cancelled due to the 2013 civil war and therefore Force Majeure being applied. That's absurd. COVID-19 situation is not like a civil war. It is a global pandemic and all essentials services have been open throughout including banks," added the official.
If a club unlawfully fails to pay a player two monthly salaries on the due dates, he/ she is deemed to have the just cause to terminate his or her contract. If a player is not paid on a monthly basis, the pro-rata value corresponding to two months' salary shall also be considered, as per FIFA guidelines.
In such a scenario, the player is a free agent with the right to terminate his/ her contract and join other clubs, the guidelines say.
The Indian players will now wait till the end of the month to see if their salaries are credited or else they will move to All India Football Federation's Player Status Committee (PSC).
"They can move now as Quess has given their reply. But we have advised them to wait for 14 days after sending their notices. After that, they will approach the Player Status Committee," the FPAI official added.