Djibril Cissé’s rotten luck with injuries may not have completely put paid to his hopes of joining his boyhood idols at Marseille. A deal for Cissé to join either Lyon or Marseille was very close to being struck, and Marseille were certainly the most likely to win his signature until he broke his leg at St. Etienne.
Marseille chairman Pape Diouf says that once Djibs is getting nearer to recovery all parties can talk again. Speaking to the Marseille website, Diouf said: “Nothing has been decided. We will talk again, but the most important thing is for the boy to recover. The boy and ourselves still want to spend some time on the same path.”
The injury was a blow to Rafael Benítez, but was made worse by the fact the player was injured whilst on international duty. France just have to call up another player and their World Cup campaign continues at no extra cost. Liverpool lose a player who could potentially have brought in £7m in a transfer fee, not to mention they now have to pay wages to a player they can’t use for half a season. Rafa says FIFA need to organise compensation rules for situations like this: “When I spoke at the UEFA coaches meeting last season, this was one of the important issues I raised. In this situation, we have a player who has cost Liverpool a lot of money injured preparing for a World Cup. Now we have to face the cost. There are wages to pay and also we can’t sell the player.”
Certainly for the bigger nations the World Cup brings in huge amounts of revenue thanks to all of the sponsorship deals, and FIFA don’t do too badly out of it either. The international set-ups get to borrow the Ferraris from the clubs, without having to pay hire costs or having to insure them. If they go back damaged the club still gets the bill. Rafa says this is wrong: “It’s clear there is a problem with the rules. As a club, not only have we lost a player we have lost big money. I believe FIFA or the national associations should pay the clubs in these situations. FIFA is a very wealthy organisation and they make a lot of money from the World Cup. They should insure the value of the players they want to participate.”
There is certainly going to be trouble if many more of these incidents happen, and Rafa suggest that withdrawal of players is still an option: “f they’re not prepared to pay for this, okay, maybe the clubs should say the players can’t play. If a team loses one of its most important players, it can make a big difference to their season and determine if they compete for the title or fight against relegation.”
One argument bandied about to help the national associations avoid paying for the players they borrow is that it would hit the smaller nations. According to Rafa that wouldn’t be an issue – FIFA can effectively spread the income out evenly to ensure all nations can compensate their players’ clubs: “I know there are some associations who are less wealthy, particularly among the African nations, but in those situations FIFA should help because they make a lot of money, particularly during a World Cup. I know Liverpool has suffered a lot because of the rules. This time it’s Cisse, but last year we had a problem with Milan Baros when he was injured playing for the Czechs.”