The Times has a useful article this morning, which clarifies the Tevez situation . . . or at least I think it does…
Who owns Carlos Tévez?
West Ham United hold the player’s registration. Kia Joorabchian’s Media Sports Investments firm owns the economic rights to the forward.
Does Tévez’s transfer to Manchester United mirror Javier Mascherano’s move to Liverpool in January?
Yes and no.
How do they differ?
Liverpool signed Mascherano on an 18-month loan – at the end of which they have the option to buy the player permanently – after West Ham ripped up the player’s registration and gave up any rights to him to facilitate the transfer. Joorabchian, who owns the economic rights to Mascherano as well as Tévez, was paid £1.5 million by Liverpool as part of the deal. United have agreed a two-year loan deal for Tévez, with the option to sign the forward permanently at the end of that period, but West Ham cannot simply give up the rights to the player in this case to facilitate the transfer.
After the verdict delivered by the independent commission into the transfer on April 27, when West Ham were fined £5.5 million, the club were given three choices. Either they stop playing Tévez, they bring the third-party agreement with Joorabchian into line with FA Premier League rule U18 so Joorabchian could not materially influence the club’s policy, or, finally, terminate its agreement with Joorabchian on the proviso that they would continue to behave in that manner and assert their rights over the player.
So what did they do?
Given that Tévez was central to the club’s hopes of staying in the Premiership, West Ham decided to terminate their agreement with Joorabchian and assert their rights over the player. As part of the agreement, West Ham would effectively have to answer to the Premier League regarding any future dealings with Tévez. Even if they wanted to, they could not simply terminate the player’s contract, but the decision left the club open to a legal action from Joorabchian for breach of contract.
So what has to happen to satisfy the Premier League before Tévez can join Manchester United?
United must strike a deal with West Ham for Tévez. That means that any fee – thought to be £6 million over the two years – would have to be paid to West Ham and not Joorabchian.
But couldn’t West Ham just receive a fee from United and then give it all to Joorabchian as compensation?
No. The Premier League would want to see that a “significant portion” of the transfer fee remained with West Ham and, given that it has power to scrutinise transactions over £25,000, that would be easy. Otherwise, it could be accused of trying to cover up the third-party agreements that caused so much controversy in the first place.
But what about Joorbachian? Won’t he try to sue West Ham if he does not receive some compensation for a player he holds the economic rights for?
He could, but it is likely that, somewhere down the line, West Ham will pay him a compensation fee in an out-of-court settlement, although that will have to be handled carefully.