By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Legal expert on Lotka transfer dispute: "Dortmund hold the better cards."

In order to get the specifics on what may be a prolonged transfer dispute between Borussia Dortmund and Hertha BSC over keeper Marcel Lotka, Steffen Rohr sat down with footballing labor law expert Prof. Dr. Philipp S. Fischinger.

Dr. Fischinger effectively noted that Dortmund had the better legal case, but that the 20-year-old could still remain in Berlin if Hertha paid the BVB a reasonable sum to terminate his existing working papers. 
hen matters get thorny in terms of footballing labor law, it's generally time to call on Prof. Dr. Philipp S. Fischinger of the University of Mannheim. That's precisely what Steffen Rohr of German footballing magazine Kicker did on Thursday in order to shed some light on the evolving contractual dispute between Borussia Dortmund and Hertha BSC over the transfer of young keeper Marcel Lotka.

Germany's capital city side suddenly wants to keep the prospect who has served as their #1 between the sticks for the last nine rounds of league play. As Rohr and Dr. Fischinger discussed, the issue revolves around the fact that Hertha claim that they pulled an extension clause in Lotka's current working papers just before Lotka signed with the BVB.

Hertha's actual argument before the courts isn't known yet, but Dr. Fischinger speculated that the capital city club will argue that their unilateral extension clause--built into an extension Lotka signed with the Hertha U23s in January 2022--had an April 30th expiration date. Even though both clubs acknowledged that Lotka would transfer to Dortmund on March 1st, the clause in Lotka's active contract leaves him with two employment obligations.

Dr. Fischinger revealed that Hertha's best case will be to muddy the waters and argue that--under German federal law--no footballer can be licensed for two clubs. In the event that there is a dispute, legal precedent demands that the existing contract be honored above the new one. Fischinger nevertheless argued that this was a pretty flimsy argument that left "die alte Dame" with little to no chance of retaining the Polish U20 international.

"There was no extension pulled prior to the transfer," Fischinger explained, "To rule that it matters would place players at a disadvantage [in the future]. In my opinion, Dortmund holds the better cards in terms of labor law. There is so much evidence that the contract with Hertha is the secondary contract."

All of that naturally doesn't mean that Lotka will end up playing for Dortmund. The 20-year-old may be slated for the Dortmund reserves while Hertha can promise him a place on the first team. If the young net minder doesn't want to head over to North-Rhine Westphalia, the clubs will be forced to find some kind of mutual solution.

While acknowledging that he couldn't predict what this solution may be, Fischinger noted that that clubs could settle the matter out-of-court with a legally-binding arrangement. After all, the legal route is expensive, time-consuming, and a public relations nightmare that neither organization really wants.

"In my opinion, a realistic scenario would be for Hertha to pay Dortmund a certain amount so that BVB would release Lotka from his employment by means of a termination agreement," Fischinger noted, "then he [Lotka] could continue in Berlin, which is probably in his best interest at the moment."

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