Spanish Players’ Union have threatened to take legal action against Barcelona for putting Dembele under pressure.
Following months of negotiations, Barcelona have given up on their hopes to renew Ousmane Dembele’s contract. The player is spending the final six months of his contract, with the club desperate to avoid a potential free departure.
On Thursday, Barcelona director Mateu Alemany confirmed the club wants the Frenchman to ‘leave the club as soon as possible’. According to Spanish sources, Barca are planning to freeze Dembele out of their squad for the rest of his contract.
Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has already excluded Dembele from his squad for their upcoming game against Athletic Bilbao. Newly-signed forward Ferran Torres will most likely cover Dembele’s absence in the lineup.
What has AFE said?
The recent remarks made by Barcelona officials have triggered a firm reaction from AFE (Spanish Players’ Union). The union has warned the club against breaching the labour rights in their treatment of Dembele.
An official statement reads: “A club is obliged to pay a player the agreed wages and allow the provision of services under the same conditions as the rest of his teammates, without there being any type of discrimination or pressure for the athlete to waive their working rights.
“The renewal of a contract requires the agreement of both parties.
“Said agreement must be issued freely without any external conditions that limit the player’s freedom. A footballer does not have the right to be called up for every match. But they must be treated under the same conditions as their teammates.
“If [Barca’s actions] can be understood as pressure to break his will — and if public statements are also made acknowledging this type of pressure — we would be looking at illegal conduct.
“The AFE considers that not reaching an agreement to renew a contract does not imply a labour breach, so it cannot have any consequences. Not picking a player for a period of time without any injury, illness or physical impediment, supposes a devaluation of his image that will negatively affect his future contracts.”
What’s next for Dembele?
According to Daily Express, Chelsea have opened talks with Demebele over a move. However, it is unclear whether they will make a bid this January.
Barcelona are keen to sell Dembele this winter as they are keen to free up space for new signings. Also, a January move is their last chance to avoid a free departure in the summer.
In case Dembele stays at Barcelona, several other clubs will most likely join the transfer race in the summer. This will increase the Frenchman’s chances of securing a better contract. However, not playing for several months might affect his chances of playing in the next year’s World Cup.