Sunday 30 April 2017

Absence of common sense allows Tevez saga to fester

Richard Sadlier

Richard Sadlier

And there was I thinking the Carlos Tevez story couldn't get any more absurd.

Despite having represented him in his recent dispute with Manchester City, the PFA were entrusted to rule on the severity of the sanction he was set to face. Their chief executive Gordon Taylor believes there is no conflict of interest in their involvement, but this is simply not true.

Rules state the PFA have to ratify any fine which exceeds two weeks' wages, so City had no choice but to halve the original fine of four weeks' wages when the PFA disagreed with their assertion that Tevez refused to play against Bayern Munch recently. Having defended Tevez during the entire process, this is hardly surprising.

We all know the story by now. Tevez refused to warm up, but at no point did he say he would not play. That was the view of the PFA and, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, it was for that alone he was found guilty.

But the application of a little common sense would bring about a different verdict. A refusal to warm up in preparation to play would clearly suggest he had no intention of going near the pitch.

It is simply absurd for anyone to claim he was willing to play having thrown a tantrum at the idea of leaving the bench to prepare to do so.

While the findings of the hearing were ridiculous, the procedural flaws have been exposed in a big way also. The representatives of a player in any dispute with a club should not have the final say in the severity of his punishment. Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson were among those to point out the craziness of the situation, but I'm sure both could appreciate the need for safeguards of some kind against managers running amok on players they just don't like.

Players are vulnerable when their relationship with the manager breaks down. When such animosity exists, it would be fair to assume many managers would abuse their position of authority and unfairly penalise them on a regular basis. It's often done to force a player to leave a club against his will, but I've seen it done several times just for spite. The rule is there to protect their rights, but I do not think it was properly applied in this case.

The story is already becoming a little tiresome but it will be an ongoing saga for as long as he remains at the club. Roberto Mancini is adamant he will never select him again, while City have said they will not sell him on the cheap. But if the club aren't careful with how they handle the coming months, it is possible Tevez could end up leaving for nothing at all in the summer.

In a case very similar to this one, Macedonian striker Goran Pandev successfully left Lazio for free after a period in which the club rejected offers to buy him while refusing to play him in games. He referred the Italian FA to the 'sporting just cause' mentioned in Article 15 of FIFA's Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players. Having failed to be selected for a minimum of 10% of games during the season, he was allowed to terminate his contract and leave for free.

Lazio were also ordered to pay him 170k to compensate him for the emotional distress of what he had been through. Tevez's situation could get just as ridiculous in no time. This may force Mancini (who faces a possible defamation charge from Tevez) to include him in the team again this season to protect their investment, because clubs can't exclude an established player for non-footballing reasons for that long.

The PFA got him off on a technicality, which they must see as a job well done. They have played a blinder in relation to Tevez and his own interests, but I wonder whether it would have been such a bad thing if Tevez had been asked to admit responsibility for his actions, apologise and take whatever punishment came his way. They don't see this as their job, I know, but Tevez isn't the only player who would benefit from such sound advice on a regular basis.

When St Pat's sacked a player for failing to meet what we believed were a variety of contractual obligations, the rules stated the PFAI were to provide one of the three individuals who would decide the outcome of his appeal.

The PFAI also sat next to him during the process outlining the case on his behalf. There was no representative from the club on the panel at all, and we were afforded no opportunity to provide one.

When it comes to disciplinary procedures involving players, England isn't the only place where there's room for improvement.

rsadlier@independent.ie

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