Thursday, July 10, 2008

Contracts are concrete, ex-Sepp in Blatter's world

Excuse the horrible pun in the headline, I was trying to think of a way to phase FIFA president Sepp Blatter's name into it... I did my best, dammit.

As a follow-up to my post on contractual obligations of a player and team, I absolutely cannot believe this - Sepp Blatter, head of the 'impartial' governing body of football, FIFA, has said that Manchester United should allow Christiano Ronaldo to go to Real Madrid.

From an email sent by Journal compadre Mike, "Why does Sepp have to open his goddamn mouth?" (who says Mike doesn't have a potty-mouth too? He's putting on an act I tell ya!!)

The move is absolutely asinine!!! Who, exactly, does Sepp Blatter think he is? The man has made some gaffes in his time, but this one - unjustly, unfairly and uninvitedly (I don't think that's a word) interfering in club business - is truly absurd.

Blatter declared that respecting one's amiably and mutually signed contract is a form of "slavery" (I shit you not). And that a player should be able to leave and sign somewhere else at his time of choosing.

Here I was, thinking at least one body should understand and force respect of signed contracts, but the highest body in world football has essentially told the world "contracts don't matter - do whatever the fuck you like". In order to save any respectability and parity in club football, Blatter will have to gs further than simply rescinding his comments, FIFA (UEFA especially) needs to pass some form of legislation removing the player buy-out clause, and forcing teams and players to respect the contracts they have agreed to.

Otherwise, we're going to see even further dominance of the big clubs in every country as the few players they can't have due to contractual obligations won't really be held down by anything anymore. It's just a piece of paper, after all, and I'm sure Amnesty International can be appealed to in order to help remove the poor want-away footballers from their states of "slavery".


Mike Woods said...

Haha remind me to keep my emails more civil.
In a bit of fairness to Sepp, it became FIFA's business when United complained to them. But the matter was settled - it doesn't give him license to speak out now.
What a tool.

Phil said...

I don't agree that a contract is an unbending and unbreakable thing. It should be honoured, yes, but there are and should be ways of breaking them as is the case in every line of business.

Teams are able to terminate contracts for free when certain conditions are broken (as Chelsea did to Adrian Mutu when he tested positive for cocaine) or by paying out the player's wages for the rest of the contract up front. Or, if a sufficient bid is received from another team - which is why no one can moan about the sanctity of contracts if Real give a satisfactory offer. The problem is, all this slavery talk is happening and no bid has been lodged, that is where I agree with your points.

Spain's league forces teams to insert release clauses into every player's contract, which annuls the contract should the player or another team pay it. The teams set it as they want, but can choose to accept lower bids. For example, Christian Poulsen's clause is set at around 12 million euro, while Lionel Messi's is at about 130 million. A system worth emulating...if Cristiano Ronaldo had a Spanish-style release fee in his contract, he could stump up the cash (probably 100 million or more) and pay it if he was so desperate to move.