Fergie slams 'crazy' PFA ruling in row over Tevez punishment
Carlos TEvez could return to action for Manchester City this season if the team plays in excess of 50 games, as the club strives to avoid the Argentinian triggering a release from his contract.
City have already been forced to halve Tevez's fine for five breaches of contract after the intervention of the PFA -- a development described by Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson yesterday as "crazy" -- and now it has emerged that they may be forced by a Fifa regulation to play him later this season.
The 27-year-old was told by manager Roberto Mancini that he was "finished" at City and would "never" play for the club again after events during last month's defeat at Bayern Munich, and the player was then found guilty of the five breaches of contract following an internal investigation.
He was issued with a two-week suspension and fine of four weeks' wages, but City have been forced to reduce his fine to two weeks' wages -- £396,000 -- following the PFA's insistence that there was "no justification" to fine Tevez beyond the normal maximum sanction of two weeks' wages.
Ferguson was one of several managers left bewildered by the PFA's action. He said: "I think it's a bit strange. The rules and regulations are there, and (the PFA's) Gordon Taylor has said that the maximum fine you can give a player is two weeks. It seems a bit crazy in that particular situation."
Senior figures at City are angry at the PFA's position, having felt that the players' union would support the club.
Taylor has hit back at suggestions by City that he was compromised by a conflict of interest having represented Tevez at his hearing.
He said: "It's not a conflict of interest at all. It's just merely pointing out what the law is, what the law says, and what the code of practice says."
The spectre of Article 15 of Fifa's Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players will loom large should Tevez continue to be a City employee at the end of this season.
The potential is there for the player and his advisers to pursue the termination of his contract, which expires in June 2014, on the grounds of sporting 'just cause'.
Article 15 states that, "an established professional who has, in the course of the season, appeared in fewer than 10pc of the official matches in which his club has been involved may terminate his contract prematurely on the ground of sporting just cause."
While there is likely to be legal argument over the semantics of the clause, with doubt arising as to whether it relates to 10pc of games or 10pc of overall game time, Tevez could exploit Article 15 if City break the 50-game barrier this season. (© Daily Telegraph, London)