What is a release clause?
When will you come across a release provision?
How does it work in real-life?
In this article, we will answer the question “what is a release clause”, so you know all there is to know about it!
Keep reading as we have gathered all the information that you need in one place!
What does a release clause mean
Are you ready?
Let’s get started!
What is a release clause in a contract
To answer the question of what is a release provision, we must first understand what is a release.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a release is defined as:
“to set free from restraint, confinement, or servitude” or “to relieve from something that confines, burdens, or oppresses”
In other words, to release something or to provide a release, you are relieving someone from something.
With this background information, we can now define a “release clause”.
A release clause is a contractual provision relieving someone or a contracting party of certain legal obligations.
For example, you may find a release clause in:
- Mortgage contracts
- Real estate transactions
- Business contracts
- Employment relationships
- High-risk activities
- Organized sports or physical activities
- Professional sports
In essence, a party agreeing to a release clause in favour of another is freeing up the other party from either past, present or future obligations.
A mortgage lender may release a borrower from any possible claims to the extent of sums paid back by the borrower further to a release provision.
There are many instances when a party may request a release from another such as:
- You may sign a release clause when signing a gym membership agreement to release the gym of any future physical injuries you may suffer
- You may sign a release clause before you go bungee jumping
- You may sign a release clause before skydiving
- You may be required to provide a release when going to a spa
- A safari tour guide may impose a release clause to bring you to a safari
What is a release clause in a mortgage contract
A release clause is used in mortgages (generally a blanket mortgage) where a borrower has pledged several assets or properties under the same umbrella mortgage agreement.
In that case, to the extent that a borrower has partially satisfied parts of the mortgage obligation, the bank or mortgagee can provide a release of some of the assets pledged by the borrower.
A blanket mortgage is a type of mortgage agreement that covers multiple properties or assets.
They are used quite often in large real estate development projects or by real estate investors.
A developer or investor may not want to have all their properties remain under the blanket mortgage for the mortgage agreement’s entire duration.
As a result, a release clause allows the investor to liberate real estate assets from the mortgage as it pays off its mortgage obligations.
The release is typically proportional to what was paid off or satisfied by the borrower under the mortgage agreement terms.
What is a release clause in football
You can also have a release clause (or buyout clause) in professional football (or soccer).
A release clause in a football contract allows one organization to acquire a professional football player’s services by paying a fee provided in the contract binding the player to a sports franchise.
Typically, the sports club looking to sign a player who is already under contract with another team will attempt to pay a transfer fee regardless of what is determined in the release clause.
A bid below the buyout fee would not legally oblige the current team to accept the transfer.
However, if a team offers the buyout fee as outlined in the release clause, the current team must accept the player’s transfer to the other team.
When the buyout fee is paid, the current owning club will no longer have any means to prevent release.
One of the largest buyout clauses in professional sports was with regards to the football player Cristiano Ronaldo for a billion euros, Karim Benzema for a billion dollars and Lionel Messi for 700 million euros.
In essence, if a player wants to rescind a contract with its current club or another club wishes to acquire the player, the amount provided for in the buy out clause must be paid.
A player’s contract will also outline the qualifying conditions where the release clause can be exercised, such as:
- The parties are within a transfer window
- The team is not participating in the Champion’s league
- A minimum amount required to be offered by the purchasing club so the club and the player can pursue further conversations
Release clauses or buyout clauses are established when a sports team signs a player.
In countries like Spain, buyout clauses are mandatory in football contracts.
The objective of including buyout clauses in a player’s contract is to ensure that:
- The player does not have an incentive to cancel the contract and leave for a competing team
- To make it very expensive for competing teams to acquire or “steal” a player from another club
- Gives players some flexibility in joining other clubs although the current club may not wish to agree to a transfer
For example, a team wishing to exercise Cristiano Ronaldo’s buyout clause would have to pay a billion euros!
That makes you think twice before triggering that provision.
What does a release clause mean in business?
What is a release clause in professional sports like football or soccer?
What are release clauses in contract law
What are release clauses in football