Negotiating Football Contracts! Are they worth the paper they are written on? The objective with any negotiation contract is that they should end up with a fair outcome. Life is often not fair as we know and some people get more than they are entitled. How do they do this? By power, greed or stealing from others. My father used to say, “Where there is muck there is money” and football has gone that way. It has attracted unscrupulous agents who are attracted to how much they can get by negotiating and re-negotiating contracts for highly skilled sports stars, who are young and very easily led. (Emmanual Eboue, the Arsenal player lost all his money to agents and now is destitute). I heard that one football mega star had 9 people in his team looking after his every need. He can’t go to a car showroom or shopping of any description, so he is surrounded by agents. Wayne Rooney rebelled against this. Wayne went to a nightclub and was arrested for soliciting with the story sold to a national newspaper.
This is a very interesting book. It is an insight into the world of football negotiations in 2018. From a German newspaper and an undisclosed very well informed source.
So where is the power in a sports contract negotiation?
The answer is it depends. Atr the end of the day, even with a contract if a player decides he doesn’t want to play for a team or doesn’t want to try. He has the power in any negotiations. Let us examine the four power sources and look at how they move around.
1 – Agents.
They talk to all sides. They drop hints. They say their player is not happy at the club and would consider a move if the new club was interested. What is their agenda? For themselves to make as much money as possible. Paul Pogba’s agent made £40m when he signed for Manchester United. Re-signed, he was there as a youth player. Neymar’s Dad is his agent and he earns massive fees everytime Neymar moves clubs. Moving clubs keeps the fees high. These agents are very skilled negotiators and poker players. Playing with the lives of talented athletes.
2 – Clubs.
Because of the money clubs can earn from Sky TV and playing in the Champions League. The transfer window is crucial. It closes twice a year and as the negotiations come up against the time deadline, all sorts of things happen out of desperation. Either to win the champions league. Get into the top four of the Premiership or to avoid relegation. Mesut Ozil’s agent renegotiated his contract to £350,000 a week just before the transfer deadline. Now he seems to be disinterested about playing for Arsenal.
3 – Players.
They get wound up by their agents on how much other people earn and therefore they are missing out. No one likes to earn less than someone else. Particularly if they think they are better than the others. Players have a short shelf life in their playing careers, so why not. But despite claiming there is loyalty it is very rare in a transactional negotiating relationship.
4 – Media
They pay enormous sums of money to show the games on TV all around the world. This fuels the negotiations with the players. The dynamics of entertainment / sport shown on television means that often the negotiations turn into win / lose or lose / lose.
Watch the megaphone negotiations that take place in the media. It is a great way to learn about your negotiations. It doesn’t matter the value of the negotiations, the principles are the same.
Derek Arden in an international speaker and negotiator. Author on “Win Win, How to get a winning result from Persuasive Negotiations”