Monday, May 21, 2007

Sign of the times: Tevez deal could be just the start - ericverschoor

Tevez and Mascherano are not a first. This is why they should be a last.

The door that West Ham has opened, and Liverpool virtually turned revolving, is one any true football aficionado would not hesitate in slamming shut. The door sign reads “Profiteers’ Office”.

Football relations between England and Argentina have a rich history. Highlights are: the sport itself being introduced in the Pampas by British settlers, the laceless ball travelling in the opposite direction, English referees being imported in times of fat cows and paranoia, Rattin in Wembley, Ossie and Ricky, the “Hand of God” followed by the “Goal of the Century”, Beckham and Simeone, Veron and Bassedas, all-seater stadiums. It has been a mixed bag of good, ridiculous, bad and brilliant. The ugly is now lurking in the playertrade routes.

That Argentine football has been in organisational and financial disarray for decades is no news. Despite having a following of world renowned passion, a seemingly inexhaustible quarry of talent and a National Team which tops rankings and bags hefty playing fees, clubs have perennially found it difficult to make ends meet (Boca and Velez are the only current exceptions). Crippling violence, astronomical administrative blunders and ubiquitous corruption and clientelism have devastating effects on balance sheets. Admittedly much of the famine is self-inflicted, but show me a country where the football background differs from the broader social one.

This environment was propitious for profiteers to flourish. “Swirling river, fisherman’s gain”.

Agents mutated. “Meagre” 5-10% transfer commissions for their “hard” work were not enough to placate their Greed. They knew how much European clubs were willing to dish out for a player. They knew how badly Argentine clubs needed cash. Why not offer some financial relief for a bigger percentage of future transfers? Player registration and economical rights were disjoined. Percentages grew steadily whilst the age of players involved fell.

It was only matter of time before Club Directors realised that this was a great way of lining their own pockets on the side. Claiming dire economical circumstances (obviously blamed on predecessors), whole batches of young players are being sold to so called “Investment Groups” for peanuts. Investors are of course always anonymous. The task of stopping the financial rot was now six feet under a heap of notes.

There are now myriad players owned by third parties (well over 50% of all players playing Primera Division). The profiteers loan them (back) to clubs who are merely used as shop windows. Registration contracts lasting more than a year are as rare as 6-all draws, six months being the norm, all of them have clauses in them allowing for termination as soon as a big(ger) fish shows some interest in the player. Control over the player’s future lies completely in outsiders’ hands.

There is one more twist to this spurious scheme. Fifa statutes only regulate registration rights. As economical rights have been severed from registration, and are in hands of actors outside Fifa’s jurisdiction, it’s 5-year contract length limit is not applicable. Players are effectively owned by profiteers until they are bought by a club, whatever time it takes.

Undoubtedly there are some who will claim there is nothing wrong with cunningly playing the market. The same could be said of trading a loaf of bread for heirloom jewelry in a war zone.

“Fair Trade Football”, anyone?

The Tevez-Mascheranogate

It is public knowledge that West Ham has been fined £5.5 million in relation to the signings of Tevez and Mascherano. The club pleaded guilty of entering in a relationship with third parties that could “materially influence its policies or the performances of its teams", and not acting “in the utmost good faith” towards the Premier League.

Two days later they did it exactly the same all over again.

For Tevez to be able to play again for the club they had to provide proof that the relation with the third party holding the player’s economic rights had been severed. They presented the PL a letter sent to the companies associated to the player, in which the club terminates with immediate effect any former agreement. This is plain nonsense, akin to sending your spouse a letter stating: “Don't love you anymore, please pack your bags, we are no longer married”.

There is absolutely no way Liverpool hasn't got some kind of agreement with the owners of Mascherano’s economical rights.

The PL has regulations in place to stop privateers, but somehow they seem to be getting around them. Could be incompetence, or maybe Kia Joorabchian (front man for the third parties involved in this particular affair) was once again one step ahead.


mimi said...

eric: this is exactly the sort of article I would skip over in a newspaper as it is outside my realm of knowledge. But I found it fascinating reading, and am looking forward to the comments of those more football-literate than I.
Thanks - yet again Pseuds educates and informs.

ericverschoor said...

Thanks mimi,

That was my idea. Information more than amusement.

I wanted to paint the picture of what is left behind by the 3rd parties, and the enviromente they strive in.

DoctorShoot said...

incisive 'mess you cannot see' piece and informative. i feel as though i have just had a glimpse of something rather turgid and scary.
in australia most football codes are salary capped with severe penalties for breaches, but the international flesh dealers and their fair trade lawyers (who can now legally list on the oz stock exchange = profits before ethics) are circling.

mimi said...

Doc: is that soccer, or AFL?

DoctorShoot said...

I can only speak definitely for AFL where the code is extremely strict. even non-monetary goodies such as car, house and promotional jobs are accounted. There is allowance room for external development funding of 'rookies' and newcomers where a corrupt manager with an eye for talent may try and squeeze a young player into the sort of third party deals Eric alludes to, however clubs would be unlikely to touch a player tied to a third party for fear of the sort of mess the Tevez deal has disclosed.
Carlton one of the oldest and most respected AFL clubs was broken in half by salary cap breach penalties about five years ago and has spent years trying to rebuild.
Rugby League and Union are both salary capped as well, and three years back a leading club Canterbury was penalised all points and relegated to the bottom of the comp for breaches.
Soccer Australia is newly formed and trying to be squeaky clean in order to gain the sponsorship they need to be viable. I don't know their rules, but there isn't enough money in it yet for third party dealers to be too involved, though it's around the corner one suspects.

bluedaddy said...

"Could be incompetence, or maybe Kia Joorabchian (front man for the third parties involved in this particular affair) was once again one step ahead and bought some brown paper bags a long time ago".

Are we ok legally on here with this kind of thing? If you are saying what I think you are saying, then that is a strong accusation.

offside said...

Very informative piece, Eric, thanks.

I'm not sure what you mean by the "brown paper bags" line. Maybe you are being deliberately vague and spelling it out would actually make it libellous... but it sure sounds interesting.

pipita said...

Eric, where did you learn all this stuff?? At St Andrews scots school??ha ha I dont get the brown bag implication either, but its all very intriguing. To be honest, however, I just pay attention to what I see on the pitch. Prefer to avoid hearing about all the dirty stuff going outside it. Call me naive, escapist or whatever, Ive just got no time or patience to worry about football's seedy side

ericverschoor said...
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offside said...


I won't take your opinions apart as I really have no idea what goes on in these types of deal. Reading the GU blogs on the subject recently I came across every conceivable opinion as well as its exact opposite. Confusing.

I understood what the brown paper bags referred to, what I didn't get was the source, destination and quantity of the money changing hands. And the motive for the transaction(s).

ericverschoor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ericverschoor said...

Soccer Australia is newly formed and trying to be squeaky clean in order to gain the sponsorship they need to be viable.

I wish I could write similarly about Argentine Football Asociation.

I was wondering...are all clubs in Australia companies or franchises? Are there any non profit clubs owned by their members (like in Argentina)? Which sports have what?
Thanks doc

offside said...

Yes, I get it now. Kafkian is the agent who brokered the deal. With a name like that, I'm not surprised it's fishy. (Just trying to save you from that libel suit here.)

It does sound like Carlitos will end up at Chelsea, non?

bluedaddy said...

Agree that the whole murky caboodle is scary and makes me want to stick with Pipita's tactic and watch the game.

But if Carlitos wants to come to Chelsea, who am I to argue? He's certainly got bigger balls than Arjen Robben, who I just cannot warm to at all.

pipita said...


More philosophy than tactic...Im surprised you dont dig Robben, I like him quite a lot. If he used his head a bit more often and worked more on his shooting from long range, I actually think he could become one of the best strikers around

ericverschoor said...


Are you a st. Andrews boy too?

Your vast knowledge of English football doesnt cease to amaze me.

As for Robben...magnificent player. Great gambeteador too.

pipita said...


Yep, indeed. Cant say I have much affection for that school however. I was there from 4th grade to 3rd year in the seventies when it was boys only, and from those seven years I can only speak with affection of some very dear friends I made, not much else really......

Ebren said...

Hi guys, I'm going to do a little trimming of the article (the last bit) for legal reasons.

Promise I won't do much.

paulita said...

hey eric

good to see you've found the time

do you know if Boca is to receive a porcentage of tevez's future transfer?
como tevez hizo inferiores en boca, le corresponden derechos de formacion no?
(sorry, I don't know the english for that)

mimi said...

Brown paper bags I also am not so familiar with as an expression. The term "brown envelope" used in Wales, refers to money literally in a brown envelope that would be tucked into an amateur rugby player's bag after a game before the sport became professional.
I rather think that these words also led to the downfall of a certain British knight of the realm in a court case involving a prostitute and perjury. No doubt ebren will edit me if I'm casting aspersions!

Ebren said...

No no, I will freely call Lord Jeffrey Archer a lying, prostitute-using Tory.

Quite safe on that.

The only stuff you have to be careful with is copyright, currently active court cases, and things that we can't back up (on balance of probabilities).

Court said Archer lied, I can say he's a liar.

Btw - the word allegedly gives you no legal protection. If you're gonna accuse someone, do it properly.

(note - you also can't sue in the UK for calling someone gay or a police informer).

ericverschoor said...

ebren...great thanks.


you are right...FIFA calls it Trainig Compensation and Solidarity Mechanism.
You can read about them here (sorry dont know how to make a hyperlink, just double click somewhere on it, and copy paste),1577,2,00.html

Boca should receive a percentage of Tevez' transfer fee. Now, what I dont know is if MSI will forward that money to Boca. Remebember they are actors outside the jurisdiction of FIFA.

Thanks are right...its brown envelopes and not paper bags....I failed "Stationary Studies" at school...sorry and thanks. Anyway, I'll blame the editor...;-p

file said...


very interesting article and if it does mean that Tevez ends up at the Bridge then GG will cursing his powers.

Most of what I know about this comes from you but I feel sure that I know enough to know that I don't know enough, there's a lot of mildew in this world


not a segway!

are you implying then that Jeffrey Archer is an inverted stool-pigeon?

greengrass said...

I enjoyed reading this - as much as any lover of football can enjoy reading about crooks who are ripping the guts out of our game!

I'm sure Tevez would be welcome at Old Trafford, but who the hell would we buy him from?

why should "gay" be an insult? I'm not - as far as I know - gay myself, but I know someone who is...

mimi said...

ebren: does that mean I can call (has he not been stripped of his peerage yet)Jeffrey Archer, a scum-sucking piece of filth?

Legal warning/Yellow card said...


Right - this is lots of fun, but everyone need to remember that this is not a private members' club.

All comments made here [looks at eric and mimi] are easily found on google.

The online world is not, I repeat not, a different place from the real one, and anything written on these boards is in the public domain and can affect people's real lives.

As such people need to only type comments (and unlike GU if you don't like what you wrote here you can delete) they would be happy appearing on GU, in a newspaper, on TV etc with your name on it.

For example, if I was to allege that a certain owner of a certain football club liked to fuck dead goats then strangle children with their entrails, and one of my online friends wanted to - say - interview a player from that club as part of their job for The Man, then there might be consequences in the real world that my unanimated ungulate intercourse comment might affect.

Similarly, if I was to allege that someone was connected to organised crime, then I had better be sure they were not in a position to - say - drop some radioactive isotope into my sushi, or my friends' sushimi.

This is all fun but if I type "mimi cycling kilo" into google I come straight to one of her posts and can read her (and our) comments.

This is not just true of this, but of everything we write here.

So, kids, think of others as well as yourself before you hit "publish" and don't say anything you would not be happpy to go on public with in real life (and think of your friends as well as yourself).

Peace out.


chelseaexile said...

ebren, "(note - you also can't sue in the UK for calling someone gay or a police informer)."

Shame for The Face that no one told Jason Donovan... :@)

Ebren said...

ce - you can't sue for being gay. Donanvan sued because they accused him of lying to his fans (by claiming to be straight when he was gay).

Calling somone a liar is perfectly actionable. Unless you are archer. Then I can call him that all I like because he was found to be one by a court of law.

chelseaexile said...

That's not how I understand the law. A key principle of Libel is the damage it would do to a reputation. If I were, say,a family values spokesman of some kind and was incorrectly accused of being gay, I would have a case for defamation of character. If I were David Bowie (pick your own bi-sexual) I probably wouldn't. Its about context.

Apologies BTW if you're in the law. I have a passing professional interest, but that's all.

Ebren said...

CE, you are right to an extent.

Except there is a very specific definition of "damage to reputation" for libel.

The definition is if something is published that would "lower you in the estimation of a right-thinking member of society".

So - damage to business is irrelevant. What matters is if a "right-thinking" person would think less of you.

No "right-thinking" person would think less of somone for being gay or telling the police of a crime, so regardless of the real world they are not actionable.

But if you are acused of being gay (falsely, the truth is always an absolute defence against libel) and that means you a hypocrit then it is actionable.

Not because they are accusing you of being gay, but because they are accusing you of being a hypocrtie. Which would lower you in that "righ-thinking" person's estimation.

Now let's not get into malicious falshood...

guitougoal said...

This is a very great piece of information with amazing details.Obviously the system is not working because the institutions are corrupted.There is a sickness in our society, most of the money is in the hands of unscrupulous businessmen and their
lawyers who know how to manipulate the system to push their own agenda.No wonder why we have "kafkaian"soup on the menu all the time.Who and when somebody is going to stand up for a purge of these rotten governing bodies?
I am amazed by your knowlege of the law-did you have to pass a bar exam for setting up the pseuds web?

Ebren said...

guitougoal - I have a 2006 edition of a media law text book in front of me and two media law exams under my belt.

Not that impressive - but so far only Teri Hatcher has tried to sue me.

guitougoal said...

did you agree with my concern rearding copyrights and tees..?
Teri Hatcher, did dhe bury the hatchet?

Ebren said...

Know naff all about copyright - I failed that bit of the exam.

mimi said...

ebren: I apologise unconditionally for suggesting that former prisoner 11XX whatever Archer, sucked scum. I should only have mentioned him in the light of being a convicted perjurer. I'm sure he now lives a full and reformed life - I gather he's trying to make a mint out of a new book. Such are the mighty fallen. Or not.

ericverschoor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MotM said...

Eric - great, if rather depressing piece.

Bluedaddy - shouldn't your first post be a ComModded in the light of Ebren's legal tutorial?

Ebren - I'll be careful as your remarks are well-founded.

Tweet it, digg it