Gabriel Heinze has lost his case against his club Manchester United. The Argentine international defender had wanted to join Liverpool after the Anfield side matched the £6.8m fee United had agreed would be enough for him to be sold. United had told Heinze’s agent that they would be glad to see him leave for the fee similar to the one he’d joined for three years earlier.
United’s error was that they did not stipulate any restrictions on the clubs he could move to, until after the letter had been issued, only changing their minds in horror at the thought of him joining their most-hated rivals Liverpool.
It’s unclear at this stage whether Heinze will appeal, but his future at Old Trafford is pretty-much untenable.
The verdict was announced in a statement from the Premier League: “The hearing concluded that nature and intention of the disputed 13 June 2007 letter, especially when taken in context of verbal discussions and Manchester United FC’s transfer policy, was unambiguous in that it envisages only an international transfer.
“Furthermore the hearing finds the letter constitutes an ‘agreement to agree’, and did not create an obligation or binding agreement for the club to transfer the player to any particular club.
“In other words the letter is evidence of an intention to negotiate, both between the parties and with potential buying clubs, and not evidence of any intention to create legal relations.”
The Premier League also said that Heinze can appeal against the decision to the Premier League appeals committee. That committee would be made up of an “independent, legally-qualified chairman, a member of the Premier League panel and a PFA appointee”.
The panel in Heinze’s case was headed up by former Sheffield Wednesday chairman Dave Richards, who as their chairman from October 1990 continually refused to allow a memorial to the victims of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster to be placed at the ground. He later became chairman of the Premier League.