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The Cole Conundrum

Guest Brian M
Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

Should a Player be Allowed to Negotiate With Another Team While Under Contract?  

21 members have voted

  1. 1.

    • Yes - power to the working man!
    • No - it'd open up Pandora's box!
    • Unsure

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Guest Brian M

Should a player be allowed to openly negotiate with another team while under contract, given it is only a 'discussion' and as such has no legal ramifications whatsoever?

For me it has to be, 'Yes'.

Every employee should be allow to DISCUSS the possibility of changing the circumstances of their employment with whoever they like. Whenever they like.

It's an employee's unalienable individual right.

I mean, imagine if you weren't allowed in your day job, to go talk to someone from another company. And further, that they could fine you a couple of weeks wages (or worse) for daring to do it! - You'd be up in arms at the thought of your civil rights being impinged by your Nazi employers!

It should be the same for a footballer. Just because they're on a truck load of money, does not mean that a team (or franchise in US terms) owns their SOUL.

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I voted ?No? ? I don?t buy into this idea of blanket rules for any type of industry whether it be highly paid footballers or low paid machinists.

Without rules and regulations to place reasonable constraints upon players, football would become too unstable for many clubs to be able to make any kind of medium to long term planning. This can only have a negative impact on the vast majority of clubs and have a positive impact on the elite few. Such a situation is unhealthy for the game and don?t forget it is the game that provides these players with the lucrative lifestyle. By pushing to destabilise it they are biting off the hand that feeds them.

Players are not the same as employees in other business ? BA doesn?t pay British Midlands ?12m to sign their Head of Marketing. Clubs deserve a degree of protection from assets they have forked out big money for being able to sneak off and negotiate a better deal elsewhere. OK you can argue that the owning club can simply refuse to sell as they are contractually able to however we all know that this doesn?t happen in reality.

On the flip side, if a player is not pulling their weight, performing well below par then I'm sure they are fairly happy with the fact that, unless they break disciplinary codes, they cannot be sacked/made redundant. The same can't be said for other jobs.

This is just two differences between the footballers life and 'other' working life. There are many many more.

If a footballer doesn't like the rules he has to abide by then I suggest he looks for work in another field. Signing your large contract whilst knowing the rules and then moaning about them later carries little weight with me.

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Signing your large contract whilst knowing the rules and then moaning about them later carries little weight with me.

What makes it more frustrating is that a player can fork out for a legal team to read and explain on contract, a luxury hardly afforded to the average person

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Guest Brian M

Loz, you're arguing the fact that because a player earns big bucks (and because a team paid big bucks for their services) that the player should not be allowed to discuss the possibility of moving clubs?

That's MADNESS. Not to mention draconian in the extreme.

People should be allowed to talk to whomever they like whenever they like about whatever they like. And if A. Cole wants to chat to Chelsea about maybe becoming a Chelsea player, more power to him.


But, let's take said discussion to a conclusion whereby A. Cole wants to move to Chelsea.


A. Cole cannot sign any form of legally binding 'pre-contract agreement' with Chelsea, because his employer is (current rules) under no obligation to sell him. So A. Cole chats to Chelsea. Chelsea chat to Arsenal. Arsenal say, 'sod off, he's not for sale'.

End of story.

Of course, that SHOULDN'T BE the end of the story, because a player - like any individual worker in the free world - should be able to change employers when and where he wants to. If said employment is available to him.

Again, it's his unalienable right as an individual.

However, should A. Cole decide he wants to leave, Chelsea would have to compensate Arsenal to a mutually agreed value, so as Arsenal are in no way out of pocket from the deal.

But, they should NOT be allowed to stop the player moving. Take the fans' emotion / club loyalty et all out of this discussion and you'll see that every person deserves the right to determine when and where they work. Period.

You'd expect no less in your employment situation. Why should a football player? And, 'Because he's paid a lot more than me and lives like a King' does not an argument make. He's paid to perform a service, NOT to give up his rights as a free, working man.

Mark my words, it will only take one player (like A. Cole) to take this to court, and we've got another Bosman ruling on our hands.

A player should be able to talk to another team about a potential move, whenever he wants. It's basic First Amendment stuff:


...and I for one do not sit well with it being eroded by anyone. Be it club or government.

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Loz, you're arguing the fact that because a player earns big bucks (and because a team paid big bucks for their services) that the player should not be allowed to discuss the possibility of moving clubs?

That's MADNESS. Not to mention draconian in the extreme.

No I am arguing that if a player wants to move clubs the first people he should be speaking to are his own club. The player can go nowhere without the club's agreement to sell and hence by entering into discussions with a buyer before agreeing the possibility with your own club is simply putting the cart before the horse

The route you are advocating is the one used by players to manipulate a transfer. They cause so much ill feeling with their current club that the club is in a position where they feel they have to sell as keeping the player is now pointless.

As I sad before these rules are in place to protect the game and ultimately the game is what is important as it is the very infrastructure that supports these players and provides them with their livelihoods. If a player cannot see that and decides to take legal action which will render these rules unenforcable then they are either very stupid or very greedy.

If you are suggesting that the First Amendment is a legally binding principle that covers all aspects of life then your eyes are wide shut! For a start it is only a piece of US legislation!

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I think there is a big difference here between the "ideal world" where these type of rules are created and the "real world" where transfers actually take place.

In an ideal world, tapping up shouldn't happen. All negiotiations should be done with the club, and once agreement is made, then the player should be approached.

But in the real world, that is never the way it happens. I would be willing to bet that, in reality, tapping-up is the norm. It is only in high-profile cases that are publicly exposed (like the Ashley Cole situation) where we hear about it.

Look at Sheva. He was on Roman's boat years before we ever put any official bids in to Milan. You can't tell me that him and Roman were discussing the weather.

Think about it. Why anyone bother going to all the trouble of negiotiating a multi-million pound agreement with a club, only for the player to completely refuse to play for them.

Basically, the tapping-up rules work in the ideal world, but are constantly broken in the real world.

As far as the clubs go, while they hold players under contract they have the power. If a player can negotiate a better deal, then good on him, but he still has to have the backing of his club to make the transfer. And the clubs are pretty well compensated - usually with bucketloads of money.

As to whether the tapping up laws should be abolished - I don't know. Maybe we have the right balance at the moment - where it happens, but is not publicised.

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