Friday, August 17, 2012
Who's got the power - the player or the club?
Yesterday, I discussed with a friend about how players have too much power in Football these days. His argument was that if a club decides to sell a player, there's nothing the player can do but leave. My argument was that a player can sit on his a*se for as long as he wants and earn his salary regardless of whether the club want to sell him or not - if he's on a contract. Both seem to be typically right, but they depend on the scenarios.
Let's take scenario 1: the player wants to leave the club, but the club wants to keep the player
This has become a typical scenario nowadays with many footballers looking for a transfer to a "bigger" club (or just more cash). They hand in a transfer request, or they get their agents to get involved in some dodgy shenanigans, the club rejects the transfer request, the players sulk until they make the move. The club's usually try and force their hand on the player, but most times, the player gets what he wants.
Example: Luka Modric currently wanting to leave Tottenham and force a move to Madrid. He's pushed for the move so much that Tottenham have to cash in on him while they can, knowing that Real Madrid are prepared to offer big money and that the player himself will no longer be performing (if he stays) to his maximum level thus reducing his value.
Scenario 2: the club wants to sell the player, but the player doesn't want to leave the club
A club is looking to offload one of its players, but the player doesn't want to leave the club. What happens then? Can the club force the player to leave? Even if the club has agreed a fee with another club and everything is on the dotted line, they still need to get the player to sign. But what if he refuses to sign, then what happens? He's still at the club, albeit unwanted by the club, and is still earning his salary for doing...well, nothing. Can the club kick him out? It can get nasty, but if the player doesn't want to leave, he won't.
Ex: Winston Bogarde at Chelsea between 2000-2004, played only 9 games and was surplus to requirements at the club, particularly because of his high salary. So while the club did try and get rid of him, he refused to go anywhere. He stayed at the club until his contract finished and retired following those 4 years at Stamford Bridge. He said " Why should I throw fifteen million Euro away when it is already mine? At the moment I signed it was in fact my money, my contract. This world is about money, so when you are offered those millions, you take them. Few people will ever earn so many. I am one of the fortunate few who do. I may be one of the worst buys in the history of the Premiership, but I don't care".
Clubs do have the power to put players in situations they don't want to be in, particularly when the player starts pushing for a move against the club's will. But ultimately, as long as a player is under contract (especially after the Bosman ruling), he will always hold the key to his future.
Even if it means sitting on the bench, going to Argentina for 6 months on a Golf tour (see Tevez, Carlos), the player will always seem to have more power than he should. Clubs that face situations like this always end up cashing on the players because it makes sense to make money out of them, but overall, I believe players have a bit too much power and this has been to the detriment of Football in general.