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The Mutu saga continues

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Adrian Mutu: Former Chelsea striker loses latest appeal against damages for breach of contract

 

 

  • 1 hour ago
  • From the sectionChelsea
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Adrian Mutu starts to celebrate a goal that was later disallowed for Chelsea in 2003
Adrian Mutu also played for Juventus, Fiorentina, Cesena and Ajaccio before retiring in 2016

Former Chelsea striker Adrian Mutu has lost his latest appeal against a ruling that he must pay the club £15.2m in compensation after a failed drugs test.

Mutu, 39, was sacked by Chelsea in 2004 after testing for positive for cocaine and given a seven-month ban.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) ordered him to pay damages to the Blues in 2009, upholding a Fifa ruling.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rejected Mutu's appeal against the Cas decision on Tuesday.

It said there had been "no violation" of Mutu's right to a fair trial.

Mutu alleged Cas had not been independent or impartial in its ruling because one of the arbitrators on its panel had been a partner in a law firm that represented the interests of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

The ECHR concluded it had "no strong reason" to overrule the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, which concluded Mutu "had not substantiated his allegations" in upholding the Cas judgement in 2010.

Former Romania captain Mutu also objected to the same arbitrator sitting on the 2009 Cas panel and a previous panel in 2005 that upheld a Premier League ruling he had breached his Chelsea contract.

The ECHR said although those rulings "concerned the same facts" the legal issues to be decided were "very different" as the first was over whether Mutu had breached his contract and the second related to the amount of damages owed.

Mutu was one of Abramovich's first big-money signings when he was bought from Italian side Parma for £15.8m in August 2003.

After a promising start at Stamford Bridge, he suffered problems on and off the pitch, falling out with managers Claudio Ranieri and Jose Mourinho.

He tested positive for cocaine in September 2004 and was sacked by Chelsea the following month, shortly before the Football Association gave him a seventh-month ban.

Chelsea sought compensation from Mutu to recover a large amount of the fee they paid to sign him, with Fifa setting damages at 17.1m euros (£15.2m) in 2008, a figure that Cas and the Swiss Federal Supreme court supported.

The compensation figure, based on lost earnings, was calculated on the length of time Mutu's Chelsea contract had left to run, and was the highest handed down by Fifa.

Despite being banned until May 2005, Mutu joined Livorno on a free transfer in January that year before he was quickly sold to Juventus once they could offload one of their non-EU players.

Fifa ruled in 2013 that Livorno and Juventus should pay some of Mutu's compensation to Chelsea but Cas overturned that decision in 2015.

Mutu was also suspended for nine months in 2010 after testing positive for appetite suppressant sibutramine while playing for Fiorentina.

Now 39, he retired from professional football in 2016.

Timeline

  • August 2003 - Joins Chelsea for £15.8m from Parma
  • October 2004 - Sacked by Chelsea after positive test for cocaine and banned for seven months
  • January 2005 - Signs for Livorno and is then contemporaneously sold to Juventus
  • May 2005 - Mutu appeals against Premier League's decision to allow Chelsea to seek compensation, later rejected by Court of Arbitration for Sport
  • May 2008 - Fifa orders Mutu to pay Chelsea damages, Mutu appeals to Cas
  • July 2009 - Cas rejects Mutu's appeal
  • June 2010 - Swiss Federal Supreme Court upholds Fifa and Cas rulings, Mutu appeals to European Court of Human Rights
  • October 2013 - Fifa orders Juventus and Livorno to pay part of compensation
  • January 2015 - Cas annuls Fifa ruling that Juventus and Livorno owe Chelsea compensation
  • October 2018 - ECHR rejects Mutu's appeal against Cas ruling
  • https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/45719451

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The appeals by Mutu have been a delaying tactic. He knows he was never going to win an appeal but this has now dragged on for 14 years. 

He's retired now, he has no sizable income, if Juventus and Livorno aren't accountable for any of the money owed to us we've got no hope of recovering the money because he has no way of paying for it. 

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5 hours ago, big blue said:

Shouldn't have sacked him at the time. 

We would've been better off suspending him, getting him into rehab, then selling him on. 

We will never see any of this £15m because he's broke anyway. 

Have no  idea if he has any funds but as far as I remember he has three properties in the US which he had been blocked from selling , their worth was around £3 million .

I very much doubt that the club will ever receive all the sum but I suspect some will find its way back to the club

Edited by terraloon

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From memory, he actually started off quite well in his first few games for Chelsea. 

I'd ultimately be hard-pressed to find someone who squandered his talent quite so utterly. With a little more discipline and focus he could possibly have made it here, but he instead had to settle for being a star at second-tier clubs like Parma and Fiorentina. 

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It'd be pretty bad of a multibillion dollar company in Chelsea to bankrupt a guy for a few million, and taking his assets. It would attract negative PR for the club and would be paraded by the media as a case of a wealthy corporation suing a man to poverty. I understand its not about the money and more about the principle, but ultimately, club should just move on from this. Other sports clubs have handled drug users/addicts in different ways by helping them get treatment, rehabilitation, providing care and doctors; instead he was fired. 

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On 03/10/2018 at 17:29, Theafonis said:

It'd be pretty bad of a multibillion dollar company in Chelsea to bankrupt a guy for a few million, and taking his assets. It would attract negative PR for the club and would be paraded by the media as a case of a wealthy corporation suing a man to poverty. I understand its not about the money and more about the principle, but ultimately, club should just move on from this. Other sports clubs have handled drug users/addicts in different ways by helping them get treatment, rehabilitation, providing care and doctors; instead he was fired. 

That's a bit unfair. Perspective changes over time. At the time that the Mutu thing broke there were a few growing cases in the news of cocaine drug abuse cases. Generally younger players were getting bans over it finishing potential careers and the bigger pros were swept under the rug. A lad from Millwall and one from Leyton Orient springs to mind. The attitude at the time was the short sharp shock approach. Somebody was going to cop it big. Some of us might actually like the fact that the club stood on its morals and made a stand. Personally i prefer this type of approach than this ridiculous mamby pamby, mollycoddled, everyone's a fking victim society we now live in.

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3 hours ago, WhiteWall said:

That's a bit unfair. Perspective changes over time. At the time that the Mutu thing broke there were a few growing cases in the news of cocaine drug abuse cases. Generally younger players were getting bans over it finishing potential careers and the bigger pros were swept under the rug. A lad from Millwall and one from Leyton Orient springs to mind. The attitude at the time was the short sharp shock approach. Somebody was going to cop it big. Some of us might actually like the fact that the club stood on its morals and made a stand. Personally i prefer this type of approach than this ridiculous mamby pamby, mollycoddled, everyone's a fking victim society we now live in.

Totally agree, every sportsman/woman knows how important it is for their sport to keep clean be it performance enhancing or recreational drugs. They are a no no. Mutu got caught, he was disciplined as per club policy, the right message was sent. In asking for monies back it should be remembered that we paid Mutu a nice signing on fee plus will have paid agents fees too for both signing on and sacking him on top of the transfer fee. We went trough the proper channels to obtain payments owed. Meanwhile Juventus sign a player for free that we technically still hold registration for and also manage to pocket 8 million in transfer fees. Mutu has continued to earn a living from the game but still didn't learn his lesson, being banned for drug taking whilst in Italy. We will have to agree a settlement eventually but lets not forget he brought all this on himself, no one forced him to take the stuff in the first place.

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On 03/10/2018 at 17:29, Theafonis said:

It'd be pretty bad of a multibillion dollar company in Chelsea to bankrupt a guy for a few million, and taking his assets. It would attract negative PR for the club and would be paraded by the media as a case of a wealthy corporation suing a man to poverty. I understand its not about the money and more about the principle, but ultimately, club should just move on from this. Other sports clubs have handled drug users/addicts in different ways by helping them get treatment, rehabilitation, providing care and doctors; instead he was fired. 

chelsea offered him treatment many times if he admitted the problem, they even offered him a way out after his samples came back positive but he continually lied about everything. They had very little choice other than to do what they did as Mutu would not admit to the drug taking. He then has been allowed to move to another club on a free so Chelsea sued him for loss of value, which they were well within their rights to do. Frankly he took drugs, was offered help several times, lied the whole way through and too no responsibility and therefore should be held accountable and have to live with the consequences. to sum up, f**k him.

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3 hours ago, dkw said:

chelsea offered him treatment many times if he admitted the problem, they even offered him a way out after his samples came back positive but he continually lied about everything. They had very little choice other than to do what they did as Mutu would not admit to the drug taking. He then has been allowed to move to another club on a free so Chelsea sued him for loss of value, which they were well within their rights to do. Frankly he took drugs, was offered help several times, lied the whole way through and too no responsibility and therefore should be held accountable and have to live with the consequences. to sum up, f**k him.

That suggests he was addicted and continued taking the drugs even in Italian football.

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On 05/10/2018 at 21:12, dkw said:

chelsea offered him treatment many times if he admitted the problem, they even offered him a way out after his samples came back positive but he continually lied about everything. They had very little choice other than to do what they did as Mutu would not admit to the drug taking. He then has been allowed to move to another club on a free so Chelsea sued him for loss of value, which they were well within their rights to do. Frankly he took drugs, was offered help several times, lied the whole way through and too no responsibility and therefore should be held accountable and have to live with the consequences. to sum up, f**k him.

Although from a personal ethical standpoint I am against clubs pursuing players as assets, this is the legal reality that players have to abide by in the current system. 

I think one thing that is fundamentally missed in a lot of the subsequent commentary is that Chelsea only commenced proceedings against Mutu when he started shopping himself to other clubs; to the club it appears a unilateral breach of contract. The legal argument is essentially that he took one of the club's assets (his footballing ability), deliberately devalued it and ended its association with Chelsea (through his own actions by taking drugs) and then moved that asset for free to another business (Serie A clubs) who initally were not required to compensate Chelsea. It means he profited from the situation and did not compensate the club.

This same situation is codified in the Spanish transfer system, where players are able to buy out their contracts and have a club assist them with cost if they wish to transfer clubs (the transfer fee). Had Mutu done this properly he would have surely sought  advice on the  new  clubs compensating Chelsea appropriately (ie paying a fee and not trying to jump on a bargain sale).

It's obviously tempting to characterise Chelsea as the big bad business harrying a former employee, particularly in an age where drug law liberalisation gains increasing popularity. What has become clear during the course of these trials is that Chelsea did actually extend offers of appropriate support and the chance for Mutu to deal with the problem in-house but this was roundly ignored, hence the argument of unilateral termination. The real villains of the piece are in fact the Serie A clubs who courted Mutu, sensing a freebie but ultimately abandoning him when it was decided they actually needed to pay. Once these clubs washed their hands of the matter Mutu realises he was saddled with their debt and blame and resorts to every appeal possible.

Legal stuff aside, I question whether Mutu's conduct would pass muster in the experience of an ordinary working person. Would my employer allow me to deliberately devalue one of their sensitive assets, then move it at a bargain rate to a competitor? Hell no, most working people would be in a world of legal trouble. So why should a multi-millionaire be exempt? 

When you add in that the club offered genuine support and he refused, instead seeking to leverage the situation to win a transfer elsewhere, and then doubling down on appeal when FIFA ruled his buying clubs needed to share the burden, it becomes a sad story with no real winners but in actual fact Chelsea have the least to blame. 

Chelsea could yet turn this into a huge win by reducing or excusing him the monetary debt but the clubs who exploited the situation and Mutu have gotten away scot-free.

 

 

Edited by SydneyChelsea

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2 hours ago, SydneyChelsea said:

Legal stuff aside, I question whether Mutu's conduct would pass muster in the experience of an ordinary working person. Would my employer allow me to deliberately devalue one of their sensitive assets, then move it at a bargain rate to a competitor? Hell no, most working people would be in a world of legal trouble. So why should a multi-millionaire be exempt?

I don't think my employers would consider me an asset!

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