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Thread: Cole, the new Bosman?

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    Cole, the new Bosman?

    From soccernet.com:

    Courting controversy

    Steve Wilson

    As slaps on the wrists go, a 100,000 fine could be expected to sting a little. That was the punishment meted out to Ashley Cole for his part in the tapping up affair involving the player, his agent and representatives from Chelsea; the club fined a record 300,000 with the possibility of three points being deducted, a threat that will remain merely that unless the club breaks the same rule during next season.


    Jose Mourinho who, along with Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon, super-agent Pini Zahavi and (presumably common or garden) agent, Jonathan Barnett, Cole's representative, attended the less than discreet get together at a West London hotel back in January, was found guilty of wrongdoing by a Premier League investigation. The Portuguese out of pocket to the tune of 200,000; the cost for breaking guidelines concerning manager's conduct.


    Lenient it was not, but, for all concerned, nothing more than a minor fiscal inconvenience. It takes a leap of imagination to envisage Roman Abramovich reacting with anything other than resigned indifference to writing that particular cheque, though he may begin to question the judgement of the man entrusted to run his day to day business. Kenyon, not for the first time, demonstrating either breathtaking incompetence or vulgar arrogance in his dealings.

    You might imagine that this would be the end of it, that all concerned would hold their hands up, promise to behave in the future and go about the business of preparing for next season. You might imagine, but you would be wrong, for this latest in a series of unseemly, embarrassing chapters in the increasingly sordid tale of modern English football may have a sting in its corpulent tail.

    The true fallout is likely to be felt first, and for a tortuously drawn out time, in the courts, but, eventually, may have far reaching consequences for the game at large.

    All three parties have gone on record to voice their displeasure at the ruling, and all expressed a defiant intent to challenge it, none as vehemently as Cole.

    On announcing that an immediate appeal would be fought on his client's behalf to the 'fullest conclusion', Cole's lawyer Graham Shearer said: 'We are absolutely furious about the decision. This is an entirely unsatisfactory conclusion.'

    That process will commence with an appeal directly to the Premier League. But, with the body having already concluded that the meeting was instigated by Barnett, as a response to Arsenal's attempt to exert control over their player by offering a contract worth just 55,000 a week, 5,000 below that which Cole thought had been originally agreed - in direct contravention to rule K5 that no contracted player shall approach another club without expressed permission of his employer - this is likely to fall on stony ground.

    Instead, Cole's lawyers will make representations to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and, failing any positive result there, will take the matter to the European courts, the implications of which cannot be overstated.

    Their contention will be not that Cole was innocent of the charge, but that the charge itself was invalid. 'English football has lost sight of the fact that a footballer is an employee,' Shearer said. 'It seems to keep hold of the master and servant relationship that employees had a century ago.'

    Shearer will thus attempt to demonstrate how current regulations deny footballers freedom of trade and so should be scrapped. Whether this will be successful remains to be seen, but the last time a footballer challenged the sport's rules in Europe a new word entered the footballing lexicon: the Bosman.


    Jean Marc Bosman, a Belgian journeyman professional, fought for and won the right to move between clubs without a transfer fee when out of contract and emancipated players across the continent in the process. Should Cole's case be accepted, and football players allowed to talk to whoever they want, whenever they want, the balance of power would swing even more in their favour.

    The possibility of long term contracts being offered to players when they are effectively free to talk to other employers at any time would become slim. Contracts would be diminished in value anyway and the flimsy notion of players being loyal to a club, stretched to the point of breaking in many cases already, would be further compromised.

    Shearer's contention is flawed, but that does not preclude a favourable hearing in the international courts.

    A football player is not simply an employee, but also an asset of the club, something in which they have invested time and money. They are a tangible part of the 'product', to use business terminology, around which other parts are built, and the knowledge that they are tied to the club for the duration of a contract, agreed by both parties, is central to the building of a successful team.

    The stripping down of a player's role within the fabric of the club to that of just another member of the workforce misses the point and devalues the notion of sport as something other, something in which the paying customers invest much more than money. Football, despite its many and conspicuous failings, contributes to community and society in a way that other businesses do not and so to apply general employment rules in a prescriptive fashion is a nonsense.

    Football players are granted less freedom within their employment for another reason, namely the security of contract they enjoy. In few other industries would a worker injured, and so unable to do their job, or performing so badly that they do not even get the chance to even perform their well remunerated task. The flip side of this security is a certain loyalty due to their employer that, say, an accountant would not be required to show to his firm.

    Different professions produce different situations and characteristics. If I were to quit my job I need only give a months notice. A doctor I know recently quit his and was required to give four months notice. Why are we not subject to the same employment rules? Because our jobs have different responsibilities and require different approaches to how our contracts are written and honoured.

    Chelsea too will contest their punishment, as will an incensed Mourinho, on the basis that it was Cole, through Barnett, and not they who instigated the meeting. Whilst this has been found to be true by the Premier League themselves, that they attended the meeting at all means they are not free of blame.

    Mourinho can feel hard done by that he received twice the censure of Cole, but his actions show a lack of respect for the league and its rules that cannot go unpunished.


    The real villains, amongst a cast of candidates, were undoubtedly Zahavi and Barnett but, thanks to the incompetences of the myriad football authorities, do not fall within the Premier League's sphere of influence. The details have been passed on to the FA, who do have the power to act against Barnett (bizarrely only FIFA seem empowered to deal with Zahavi), but few within the game would be surprised to see that come to naught.

    The whole affair leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Should Cole and Barnett's desire to see 'justice' done result in changes in the statute book the morphing of the game from a culturally and socially important sport into a pure business driven by greed and self-interest would receive a barely needed shot in the arm. And why?

    Because Cole feels that 55,000 a week is a derisory offer from the club he professes to support, who have nurtured his not inconsiderable talent from his youth, and he saw fit to discuss this with a rival club, mid-season, in full view of a busy hotel in the city home to both clubs.

    He is not the first and he will not be the last to have his head turned by the largesse of Abramovich's Stamford Bridge revolution, and he has clearly been led down this particular path by an agent keen to earn his 10% off the back of arguably the best left-back in the world. But the root of all of this, as with Rio Ferdinand's own dance with Kenyon, appears to be greed.

    Sadly, the result of the investigation, far from drawing a line under the issue, looks likely to spawn another summer of football's dirty laundry being washed in a very public fashion.

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    I like Ashely Cole, but I was glad he got that punishment. What he did was shameful, how the heck do you negotiate with a rival club in the middle of the season? Are you a man? Do you have values?

    But what his agent is trying to pull is really something. He wants to argue that it should be okay for under-contracted players to negotiate with other teams without permission from their employer. This is outrageous, and more so if the courts agree with him.

    He is trying to deflect attention from the shame that is over his player. Instead of saying I made mistake, Sorry, and carrying on, he is trying to solve the problem with another problem.

    Once again, thanks for Chelski for screwing up soccer. I really hope their owner gets arrested and disppears. He is damaging soccer, and by their twisted means they are trying to monopolize soccer. Soccer isn't Russia!!!!

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    From a club side I would be against this going to courts but from players side I think he should .

    Since I believe players are normal employees just like anybody else , its quite clear that the rules are illegal.

    Let me make an example say some works for a small company that guy can go and negotiate directly with some else he doesn't need to get his employer's permission. All that he has to do after wards is give a 3 or 6 months notice then he can leave after this time or if he wants to go immediately the new employer has to pay the old employer compensation.


    Now a footballer isn't allowed to do this.

    So I am on A.Cole's side on this.
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    The author makes a point against that in the article. A soccer player isn't your normal employee, the argument is well-put in the article.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamed
    The author makes a point against that in the article. A soccer player isn't your normal employee, the argument is well-put in the article.
    According to eu law a footballer is just like any other employee. And I believe they should be treated just like any normal employee.
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    It is really naive to consider football like any other profession.

    Just think about it when such a thing will happen, you will even have a bigger gap between the have's and the have not's. Everytime a young player plays well for a mediocre team, big clubs can snatch him away even if he is under contract.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamed
    It is really naive to consider football like any other profession.

    Just think about it when such a thing will happen, you will even have a bigger gap between the have's and the have not's. Everytime a young player plays well for a mediocre team, big clubs can snatch him away even if he is under contract.
    The world is an unfair place. Just like its unfair for the big companies to pay bigger wage and get the best people. Thats just life that the small clubs can't keep thier players.

    And on his arguement the players are assets to the club. They might be but legal they are not since a asset is something you own. Vlubs don not won players they merely employ them.
    Forza Inter per sempre!!!!
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