The Court of Appeal of Lisbon this Friday gave reason to Gedson Fernandes in the dispute with the former representatives of the footballer, in their appeal to a decision of first instance that had already been unfavorable to them.
“Under the terms set out above, they agree to dismiss the appeal and, as a result, fully confirm the appealed judgment”, says the court, which also charges the costs of the process to the appellants.
Positionumber, Unipessoal, Lda and MRP Positionumber, Limited, controlled by businessmen Luís Miguel Pinho and Miguel Ruben Pinho, who represented the athlete at the beginning of his career, starting when he was still a minor, claimed a set of compensations, totaling 407,616 .03 euros, which the court found not to be owed to them.
At first instance, Gedson Fernandes had been ordered to pay only 15,000 euros, plus 4% default interest.
“I absolve the defendant Gedson Carvalho Fernandes from all other requests made by the plaintiff ‘Positionumber, Lda'”, sentenced, at the time, the Loures Central Civil Court.
After this ruling, the athlete filed a complaint with the Intermediaries Commission of the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) for the fact that MRP Positionumber represents him and Benfica at the same time, a situation that violates Portuguese law and sports regulations.
“The plaintiff, as Benfica SAD’s representative in the sports employment contract and its amendments, would always be acting in a conflict of interest”, the court recalled.
Among other values, the company, which represented him between 2016 and 2018, wanted to be reimbursed for representation costs of around 230,000 euros, 54,000 euros of the luxury car that it gave to the footballer and another as much for breach of the promise contract to purchase the same, which he used between April 2018 and March 2019, and an alleged loan of around 32,000 euros.
“The court understands that these clauses are manifestly excessive, unjustified and disproportionate, and are part of usury”, says the sentence.
The term ‘usury’ is, moreover, referred to several times by the courts, namely in the “penal clause of 500 thousand euros for breach of the duty to inform about claims related to the use of a car worth approximately 54 thousand euros”, considering that it “constitutes an excessive, unjustified and disproportionate benefit”.
The same for the 180,000 euros, albeit in instalments, “corresponding to the follow-up carried out by a representative to a minor under 15 years of age”.
During the process, Gedson Fernandes said that the company took advantage of his “inexperience and immaturity” to make him “sign contracts on the pretext that they are documents necessary for car insurance”: the athlete was 15 years old and in the ninth grade of schooling.
In April 2019, Gedson Fernandes decided not to sign a new contract with his representatives, who had also been Benfica’s representatives in the four-year contract (2018-2022) with the club.
Likewise, the mandates of the ‘incarnates’ were in the two amendments to the contract that allowed him to go from 3,000 euros in monthly salary to 7,500 euros and later to 26,250, resulting from their “performance”.
In court, the plaintiffs had refuted Gedson Fernandes’ allegations of the “excessive nature of the penal clauses and their reduction”, considering that they “are based on contractual freedom and the private autonomy of the parties”.
The first action was filed with the Central Civil Court of Porto, and was later referred to the one in Vila Nova de Gaia: by order of October 23, 2020, the latter court’s territorial incompetence was declared and the case was sent to the Central Court. Loures Civil.