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Antitrust and European Football

The Economist weighs in. They note the clubs' petition for an exemption to antitrust law, and give a nod to co-blogger Stef Szymanksi.

West Ham has been weighing plenty of arguments themselves in court in recent weeks. Last season's blessing, Carlos Tevez, has turned in to an off-season nightmare. The problem is that Tevez' "economic rights" are owned not by himself or another club, but a financial operator of sorts, Kia Joorabchian.

Some clubs wanted West Ham relegated for participating in Tevez' arrangement. They dodged that bullet, but not a $10 million fine. Now Tevez wants to play for Manchester United, and the feeling is shared by Man U. But West Ham is holding up the transfer, claiming that Joorabchian's contract with Tevez is an unlawful restraint of trade. What a hoot! While it's a contract that makes you squirm - it has a whiff of slavery about it - it is no more a restraint than the contracts used by clubs themselves.

This negotiation will most likely end with West Ham achieving their aim of pocketing a few million pounds from Manchester United. Joorabchian - now under indictment in Brazil - may get frozen out. This is dirty pool if you ask me. But it would be interesting to see the case argued in court just to see how the law deals with West Ham's claim.