Could Manchester Utd sign Carlos Tevez for free?
Argentinean could challenge third party ownership under EU law
It takes Wengeresque brain power to fully understand the intricacies of the Carlos Tevez transfer situation, but here are the bare facts: the Argentinian’s registration is owned by a third party named Media Sports Investments (MSI), the founder and president of which is his advisor Kia Joorabchian. His contract with MSI means he is not allowed to agree to anything without their consent. Manchester Utd have paid between £6m and £10m during his two year ‘loan deal’ at Old Trafford, and in order to secure his services next year, they will have to make up the rest of his £32m valuation.
The Sun’s Ian McGarry, however, suggests that Utd should not have to shell out a hefty transfer fee to keep their wet dog-alike: citing EU law, the journalist purports that Tevez can sign for the club any time he wants, provided his own personal terms are met.
Under the Bosman ruling, any third party (ie a club) which governs the movement of a player between jobs is a restraint on trade. MSI may be a company, but they are also a third party, and therefore his freedom under the Treaty of Rome is being violated if he is not allowed to move on to where he pleases.
The biggest legal sticking point is likely to be the fact MSI signed their contract with Tevez in South America (ie outside of EU jurisdiction), but since he wants to play in Europe, his contract is arguably open to challenge within the EU.
Utd have made it clear they are not interested in paying the full £32m, which might suggest they could be building a legal case to challenge his third party ownership.
It seems that the onus is on Tevez himself: if he wants to sign a contract with Utd and challenge his owners, he can do so. If, on the other hand, he wants to stick with Kia Joorabchian et al, he can infuriate Alex Ferguson by moving to Liverpool, or perhaps wouldn’t-sell-them-a-virus European rivals Real Madrid.
Check out Ian McGarry’s take on things here.