herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

John Giles: City leading a tidal wave of hypocrisy

Eastlands club have little right to take high moral ground over Tevez

MUCH as I hate to admit, I don't think there is anything anyone can do to deal effectively with Carlos Tevez or any other player who goes head-to-head with authority.

In fact, I think it would be outrageously hypocritical of Manchester City to take the moral high ground on this after they way they behaved in recent years in the transfer market.

They have thrown vast sums of money around to entice players to Eastlands and every one of those players had a contract in place with another club.

Pursued

Ask David Moyes about how he felt when they pursued Joleon Lescott or Martin O'Neill when they came after Gareth Barry and James Milner.

There is now a tidal wave of hypocrisy in full flow.

I see manager after manager in the headlines adding their criticism of Tevez to the pile, yet many of them would sign him tomorrow in an eyeblink.

I know they will all say that this is different; that Tevez's refusal, if that's what it was, to take to the pitch when requested to do so by his manager is beyond the pale and must be confronted.

Of course they are right.

A player who won't play is a problem for everyone in the game and sets a terrible precedent for the future of football.

There is a grave danger that ordinary fans, already disillusioned with what they see in the modern game, will switch off and find another way to be entertained.

If the Premier League needs an example of that to focus minds, they should look at Serie A in Italy.

General disquiet about the state of the game has sparked a huge outpouring of anger across football about this incident.

People are sick to death of the cheating, diving, bad behaviour and bad attitude they see on a daily basis in the game and this could be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

First and foremost, I would |like to see what happens in the investigation Manchester City have announced and if that confirms what we all saw with our own eyes, we will see if all the fine words from the Premier League, the managers and even FIFA amount to anything of consequence.

I certainly will not be holding my breath on that one.

What it all boils down to is |the player's contract and how everyone made a mockery of such legal documents once Bosman |had won his case for freedom of movement and employment.

At that point, power tipped completely towards the player but it is the willingness of clubs to undermine rivals in a bid to sign the best talent that gives Tevez and players like him almost total control over the market.

Talent is everything and a club like Manchester City is prepared to move mountains to sign the best players and in that grey area agents flourish.

Blueprint

The chance was lost during the formation of the Premier League when some kind of blueprint for best practice should have been set in stone, but it could only have been done via consensus and |that's the very last thing I see in England's top flight.

The Premier League clubs do not and never have acted as one and instead of sitting down and reaching an agreement on how they would cope with the |post-Bosman world, they chose self-interest as a map for the |way forward.

If Tevez refused to play, there |is a set of rules within the game which should kick in.

In all other professions – doctors, accountants, lawyers – there is a system of internal discipline and the possibility that an offender can be struck off and barred from practicing.

The sin must be great for that to happen and in football terms, refusing to play is a serious offence.

But would it be seen that way in a court of law?

I don't think so.

The rules of the game have never stood up too well under attack from the law of the land.

Banned

Tevez could be banned from the game for a year or 10 or even life, but I would suggest that his legal team would make mincemeat of the rules of football if they took the English FA, UEFA or FIFA to court to try to overturn such a ban.

The answer here is in the clubs' own hands. They only effective way of imposing such a ban on a player is if they unite and refuse to employ him.

That way, Manchester City would drop £35m unless they can find a way to sue Tevez but, again, I'm not holding my breath on that one.

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