ANALYSIS-Soccer-City have riches to stop rot of "bad apple" Tevez


Wed, 28 Sep 19:36:00 2011

Manchester City can afford to throw money at their Carlos Tevez problem and rid themselves of a striker whose refusal to play against Bayern Munich has triggered outrage in the soccer world.

His manager Roberto Mancini has already vowed the player's career at City is "finished" after the Argentine defied orders to warm up and come on as a second-half substitute in Tuesday's 2-0 defeat in the Champions League at the Allianz Arena.

While Tevez issued a statement on Wednesday denying he had refused to play, the apology to fans did not tally with comments he made straight after the game when he said: "I didn't feel I was right to play, so I didn't."

Talks between Mancini and the club's owners will ultimately decide if Tevez goes and it could boil down to whether the world's richest club are willing to forgo a transfer fee, with the window not open until January, and pay off his contract.

Having spent more than 600 million pounds ($940 million) on players in three years, City may feel the short-term financial blow would be worthwhile to see the back of a player who has brought controversy to every English club he has represented.

"It's not about money with Man City, they can afford to take the hit on him but he cannot (be allowed to) undo all the good work that they have done to date," former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness, now a television pundit, told Sky Sports.

"He is one bad apple... He is a disgrace to football. The man in the street thinks there's a lot wrong with your modern footballer, he epitomises what the man in the street thinks is wrong with modern footballers," added Souness, a former team mate of Mancini's at Sampdoria.

Tevez's team mates sat impassively on the substitutes' bench next to him while he appeared to rant and gesticulate during Tuesday's match and the club may feel they need to let him go for the sake of unity and before he bends too many ears.

Other cracks were showing in the team during the game as City's Bosnia striker Edin Dzeko vented his frustration at being substituted and they will need to nip any discontent in the bud to prove their expensive outfit can win the Premier League.

"They are a good group of players individually without a shadow of a doubt, collectively there is still an issue with not everyone thinking everyone is pulling in the same direction," former City boss Mark Hughes told Sky Sports.

Legally, if the club can prove Tevez refused to do his job, his contract can be terminated.

"If, hypothetically, a player did refuse to play or go to the game, then the employing club could allege that it was a sufficiently serious breach by the player to allow for a summary dismissal and termination of the player's employment contract," Graham Shear, a partner at law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, told Reuters.

While the fans who watch Tevez would expect to get fired for not doing their day jobs, such cases are rare in soccer.

"It has to be an extraordinarily serious breach by a player that would give rise to an immediate termination of the contract," added Shear. "Significant disputes between a club and the player are ordinarily dealt with by levying the standard punishment of a deduction of two weeks' wages."


Mancini was visibly shaken by the exchange with Tevez and fellow Premier League managers had plenty of sympathy over his difficulties with a talented player who is somewhat tainted after problems at West Ham United, Manchester United and City.

"It's unbelievable. For Roberto Mancini to be put in that situation wasn't fair, it wasn't right for Man City, it wasn't right for football," Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp said.

"He's a great player but I can't condone what happened yesterday. What message does that send out to young players?"

If City decide to keep Tevez but Mancini goes through with his threat to never field the striker again, the player could have a case for saying he is entitled to be released from his contract for not being allowed to perform his duties.

"FIFA recognises within its rules that if a football club refuses to play a player for reasons other than appropriate sporting reasons then such an act could potentially be grounds for a player to seek to be released from his contract on the basis of what is called sporting just cause," Shear said.

"Such a release would normally result in the player being a free agent."

So, whether the club decide he should stay or go, Tevez could become a free agent which may well be a good result for a player who has made no secret of his desire to leave a city where he says the weather is bad and there is nothing to do.

Tevez's problem could be that his catalogue of run-ins at previous clubs may put off some potential suitors from paying a hefty fee in January or even acquiring him now for free.

Then again, a player on a free who can score for fun -- he was joint top scorer in the Premier league last season -- and is willing to run his legs into the ground when he wants to could be worth the risk to many clubs.

($1 = 0.639 British Pounds)


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