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Morals, Scruples and the Rules

By Jay Harris :  29/07/2009 :  Comments (19) :
On a slightly different note from whether we should sell Joleon or keep him at all costs, there is another issue at stake. There is a rule preventing clubs talking to players who are under contract at other clubs unless the two clubs reach some sort of agreement. Now it seems to me that Chelsea did not welcome City's attempt to hijack John Terry and it is reported to have cost Chelsea a significant amount to increase his contract.

Now we are faced with a similar situation (apparently) at EFC with Jolean Lescott. City are apparently using the media to undermine these players and clubs and it is totally without scruples or morals. I felt so indignant I have written to the FA,The Premier League and the Football ombudsman as follows:

Dear Sirs, As custodians of the game I wish to ask you for your stance regarding the despicable and underhand behaviour of Manchester City Football Club.

I refer to two incidents in particular.

1. The persistent way they have tried to undermine John Terry's position at Chelsea FC

and 2. Likewise with Jolean Lescott at Everton FC.

They were informed by both clubs that the players were not for sale and were currently under contract yet they have conducted a campaign through the press to unsettle both players and their clubs.

Why have they not been censored for this?

I thought it was a rule that currently contracted players could not be approached by any means unless the clubs they were under contract to agreed yet suggestions of doubling their salary and joining the best players in the world are being conducted through the media consistently.

Unless the FA and other bodies put a halt to this unsavoury process I fear more fans will become disillusioned with the effect money and power is having on the game.

I await your reply with interest.

Yours sincerely,

Jay Harris

Reader Comments

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Peter Griffin
1   Posted 30/07/2009 at 08:27:07

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The people in these positions of authority are so out of touch with the game it’s beyond a joke.

I fear the people you are writing to will be too busy watching the ashes and eating caviar to reply to your letter Jay (which was spot on) and they have probably never read the star or the sun in their life !

Nothing ever happens in situations like this and when it does its usually a fine equal to the amount the club in question spends on toilet roll for the week!

We need more people to speak out about these issues, so when punishments are dealt it’s more than a slap on the wrist and makes them think twice about doing it again!
Nick Flack
2   Posted 30/07/2009 at 09:02:47

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Technically the Club haven’t contacted the players, so there’s not a lot the FA could do.

I find it really annoying when Managers suddenly lose their principals once they’ve got a wad of cash available. But Let’s be honest, Moyesie would do exactly the same thing if someone bankrolled him.

Though to be fair, I’m not sure the managers have much to do with it once a club gets to this level. The chief execs, Peter Kenyon’s of the world seem to be the ones doing all the talking.

Can’t imagine Citeh’s new owner sitting there saying, "Terry’s and Lescott aren’t for sale, oh fair enough, we’ve still got Dicky Dunne".
Peter Griffin
3   Posted 30/07/2009 at 09:58:09

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I’m sure Gary Cook at City will have contacted Lescotts agent in some way,shape or form to let him know they will double his wages Nick. As well as leaking it to the press. So is this ok to do? Or is this not tapping up? Or do they have to be caught publicly before it becomes unethical and breaks the rules?

it’s like saying carrying on behind the Mrs back is ok until you get Caught in your marital bed doing the wild thing with her sister and then it becomes wrong. We think this is right but the powers that be (mrs/fa) dont and then dish out punishment (doghouse/100k fine)

There’s a point in there somewhere I think.
Dave Wilson
4   Posted 30/07/2009 at 10:22:30

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Couldn't agree with you more Jay, but do you not think clubs like City have become the dog and the FA no longer amount to anything more than the tail?

SAF, Wenger and Beneathus regularly demonstrate contempt for the FA
City are now pushing the boundaries a little further. The super rich clubs dont like the rules, that's why they are slowly but surely re-writing them.
Neil Pearse
5   Posted 30/07/2009 at 11:00:11

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Spot on Jay, and well done sending something to the FA. Whether or not Man City are technically infringing any rules, they are clearly driving a coach and horses through the intent not to have players ’tapped up’.

Unfortunately, the FA are as likely to take action against the rich clubs as i am to play for Everton next season. More salvation is likely to come from the other rich clubs attacking Man City. As you point out, Man City (and indeed Real Madrid) are in effect further hiking the wage bills of the ’other’ rich clubs - and they increasingly can’t afford it. Hence SAF’s bleating at City, and Wenger losing his players.

Of course, they would have to work out a way of not losing their own players to City / Madrid, whilst being able to continue to take ours! So don’t hold your breath...
Prabhat Mukherjea
6   Posted 30/07/2009 at 12:05:50

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I agree that Man City’s conduct is highly unethical and deserves to be censured unfortunately even if I were the ombudsman I would find myself powerless to act unless there were proof that City actually approached Lescott.

Unfortunately, in law, City can’t be held responsible for the actions of the media or their commentary. Unless we catch them approaching Lescott or his agent, there is no evidence of any wrongdoing.
Fran Mitchell
7   Posted 30/07/2009 at 12:58:20

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Did the same apply with Moutinho last season?

BK came out and publically stated our interest, despite Sporting saying NOT FOR SALE.

Was anyone disgusted with our behaviour?

How about with AJ a few years ago, Palace stated NOT FOR SALE.

Until M’Bia said he didnt want to Join Everton, everyone wanted us to sign him last season, despite his club saying NOT FOR SALE.

Leeds are not happy about us taking Luke Garbutt.

Leeds want to keep Fabien Delph, but a number of clubs including everton via the media have made their interest known, thus turning his head.

Are you equally unhappy about Alonso going to Madrid? or Ronaldo going to Madrid? Because is this is a MORAL statement then you should be, however i’m made up Liverpool will lose their most important player. ditto with Utd.

I do not like what football has become, but Everton play as bigger role in it as Man City, Man City just happen to have more money.

We know it happens, of course it does, and it will continue so long as a player has a mobile phone, agent and privacy.

Will you also send a letter to the Sun, Mail, Guardian, Times for their role in turning players heads and taking morals out the game?

MORALS, its a multi-million/billion industry, do Tesco have Morals, McDonalds, Exxon, Shell? Of course not, neither will City, Madrid, Man U and yes Everton.
Jay Harris
8   Posted 30/07/2009 at 14:04:32

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I take your point but EFC did not conduct a campaign through the media stating they would get the player at any cost and he could double his wages by coming to EFC.

I was particularly disgusted by Skysports who reported on Tuesday night that City were going to come in with an increased offer within 24 hours and were determined to get their man.

That subsequently happened so it was obviously "Leaked" by City.

And the way they pursued Terry through the media was even more distasteful with them claiming Chelsea had alerted the media not them.

Come on I know football has it’s unsavoury side but when you get this sort of behaviour it sure leaves a sour taste.

I just hope every team goes out determined to bury City in the coming season and that’s not envy of their buying power it’s disgust at their lack of respect for other Clubs.
Mike Green
9   Posted 30/07/2009 at 14:18:44

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Jay - spot on.

It puts Man City in a win win situation - they either get their player or if not they a) unsettle him and b) cost their competitors an extra few tens of thousands in wages a week. Its a disgrace - the only silver lining is that every time a player turns them down it’s puts a dent in their sales pitch.

And Peter Griffin - what has reading the Sun or the Star got to do with anything???????
Brian Baker
10   Posted 30/07/2009 at 15:52:26

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Phil Neville has just come out and publically attacked Man City:

Good on him!
Peter Griffin
11   Posted 30/07/2009 at 15:53:05

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Mike — Jay's post said, "they have conducted a campaign through the press to unsettle both players and their clubs".

My point was that the tossers who are responsible for running the game are out of touch and probably read the Financial Times not the sun or the star etc and maybe don’t read the transfer gossip.
Rob Jones
12   Posted 30/07/2009 at 16:15:53

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I agree totally but it has always gone on and always will!
I particularly dislike the repeated suggestion made by the press that Lescott (and Terry for the preceding 6 weeks) ’would like the opportunity’ to talk to City. There appears to be no evidence to support this from any public utterances by the players or their agents.
Fran Mitchell
13   Posted 30/07/2009 at 17:09:12

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Peter Griffin

"My point was that the tossers who are responsible for running the game are out of touch and probably read the Financial Times not the sun or the star etc and maybe don’t read the transfer gossip."

I’m sure they will have noticed City’s movement towards Terry and JL. Also the Sun and Star are just shit papers that shouldn't be read. That doesn't mean your out-of-touch, The Guardian, Times, telegraph all do footy rumours too.

Also why would any respectable (I’m not saying the FA are respectable by the way) use bullshit transfer romours to decide their agenda?

If the FA were to seriously get strict how do they do that? Veto all transfers that get mentioned in the Press before hand? So then No1 signs anyone.

The FA are out of touch of fans, of course they are, their concern is money and law.

Course City wont be punished, they are bringing a lot of money into the game.

City have put 100+ million into the British Football economy, if it wasn't for city that money wouldn't be in the footy economy, these millions will do a lot to keep the premiership afloat.

It’d be like saying the UN, IMF are out of touch of the worlds population. Course they are, they don't give a toss. Were the consumers, we do as we get told.

Of course City leek out info to the press, thats the point of the press.

The government leek out proposals to the press, opposition parties leek out info to the press, businesses in all areas too.

Tapping up has been an issue for years and years, and not just in the last 10-15, but 40, 50 years of football.

Liverpool are victims in how they are losing Alonso, but also did it to try and get Barry.

Man U victims in losing Ronaldo, but got Berbatov, Rooney and now trying to get that lad from Gremio.

Everton victims with Rooney, now Lescott, but got AJ, Jags (he new interest so wouldn't sign new contract without release clause) and tried to get Moutinho.

Also you think it only happens in the media, you don't think payers agents speak to club officials without the permission of the players club, all you need is a mobile phone, an email address etc.

Also I hate this talk about the evil city etc, destroying the game. It was already destroyed, and Everton have benefitted from it very well. The football League below us is crumbling, do you expect the great Everton to say "Here's some of our sky money that you deserve." OK the Sky 4 (now 5) benefit a lot, but so do we.

Would people be disgusted with us if we publicly went after a player if it was the only way to get him? Didn't think so.
Fran Mitchell
14   Posted 30/07/2009 at 17:34:41

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Also, we talk about Everton being a club with history. Which is true

BUT we have our history due to being the richest club years ago

The Mersey Millionaires, with the Moores family who made their money how....thats right the respectable trade of Loan Sharking during the great depression.

Is that MORALLY any different?
Ciarán McGlone
15   Posted 30/07/2009 at 18:40:22

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Oh my god..

What about Moutinho?

Perhaps people should stop bleating about ducks gone barefoot..Teams use the media, including us... some better than others... There is absolutely no rule against it.

Get over it... it’s only been going on for the last 30 years.
Jonathan Ashton
16   Posted 30/07/2009 at 22:38:55

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What about the talk about likely wages from Citeh for Lescott & Terry in the press.

If the club is leaking to the press how much they might pay the player, that’s really advertising something to the player, not the club and has got to be directly in contradiction to the "tapping up" rules.

I don’t know what happened here — just asking, really.
Peter Griffin
17   Posted 31/07/2009 at 09:39:57

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Transfers deals are probably half done before club officials even meet to discuss it. Agents, press, players etc talking unofficially. This has and probably always will happen.

Football is about money, not morals.

Money and morals go together like oil and water.

However if on the rare occasions somebody does get caught, it would be nice to see a punishment that causes more than a bat of an eyelid.
Jonathan Ashton
18   Posted 31/07/2009 at 14:39:30

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Shame if nothing happens. Perhaps part of the reason there’s so much press about Bobby Robson is because he seemed so decent, as well as being strong and competitive. Evertonians are usually proud of having an honest, hard working manager and a pretty honest, hard working team. Meanwhile, every team has to operate in this slightly shady environment...
Jay Harris
19   Posted 05/08/2009 at 10:49:11

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Some of you may remember I wrote on this subject on 29 July. As expected there is a pathetic reply. Is it any wonder tha game is in such a state when the people that run it just dont give a toss? Am I being too old and fuddy duddy about principles? Has the world changed so much that money is now the answer to all things?

Thank you for your email.

The relevant club would have to make a complaint for us to investigate this matter.

Thank you once again for taking the time and trouble to write. I fully appreciate this may not alleviate your frustrations, but all emails are fed back and I can assure you your comments have been noted.

Kind regards

Tracey Bates | Customer Relations Assistant
The FA Group
Wembley Stadium I Wembley | London | HA9 0WS
Postal address: Wembley Stadium, PO Box 1966, London SW1P 9EQ
T +44 (0) 844 980 8200 # 4707

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