As Hearts are finding out, it’s better to let things be. Their appeal regarding the £600k compensation set for the shonky Andy Webster deal has resulted in that figure being quartered, a potentially massive precedent being set and us football fans being subjected to the barely comprehensible ramblings of Sep Blatter.
The ruling by the Court of Arbitration in Sport essentially confirms that where there is just cause to do so, a player approaching the last year of a three or four year contract can hand his notice in, hand over the cash equivalent of his final year’s salary and walk away a free agent. The only restriction being that he can’t sign for a club in the same country as the club he’s just left.
That in itself is a little bit shaky. After all, FIFA themselves confirmed that there was nothing untoward in Latics, almost immediately loaning Webster to a Scottish club.
It will take a while before the real impact of this decision is known, but you can bet that a few high profile players have their calculators out working out exactly what a year’s salary comes to and planning a breakdown in contract talks, a spat with the manager or some other get out clause. What is clear is that this pushes the balance of power even further away from clubs, but have a guess who will lose out?
The loss in transfer revenue, more Bosman style signing on fees and likely increase in wages can only be passed on in one way. As with every other change that has increased players’ bargaining power, the cost will be passed on to the fans.
It’s worth a thought, the next time you’re paying through the nose to get the name of your team’s latest free transfer plastered on the name of that expensive replica shirt, don’t you think?
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