Heinze to appeal as Rafa queries PL decisions

The attempts by Manchester United’s Gabriel Heinze to move away from Old Trafford and become part of Rafa Benítez’s Anfield squad could well have opened up quite a can of worms at the Premier League.

The short version of the story is that with two years left on his contract, no doubt on quite high wages and no longer first choice, Gabriel Heinze wasn’t really wanted at Old Trafford. As a result, Manchester United’s chief executive, David Gill faxed his agent to say that he could leave the club for a fee of €10m.  That’s the reason the strange figure of £6.8m sterling has always been quoted as the effective release fee. However Manchester United just assumed that the Argentinean’s agent would know that any club but Liverpool were acceptable as purchasers of their unwanted player.

That’s where it went wrong.  A desperate United board had to try and stop their most-hated rivals, the team that may just be becoming their biggest threat, from signing the player that they didn’t really want themselves. It clearly wasn’t a matter of them being worried that the player might help their rivals to overtake them in the title race, it was purely down to the deep-seated hatred felt by a manager who, well-past his retirement age, still throws toddler-style temper tantrums when he can’t get his own way. Ask the BBC why Ferguson refuses to speak to them. If you can, ask Manchester United why they sold Juan Sebastian Veron to the team that has won the title twice in the last three years. United’s claim that they don’t sell to Premiership rivals seems a little hollow in the light of that forgotten fact.

The United chief executive had made a huge error. His manager was furious – he really does hate Liverpool. So a story about a tape-recording suddenly started to do the rounds. Either United tape all conversations they have (and if they did there would no doubt be some explosive evidence if it fell into the wrong hands) or United were trying to alter the facts after the events had already taken place.

They blocked Heinze’s move, rejected Liverpool’s bid and forced their own player to take them to a hearing in front of a Premier League “independent” panel. How independent a panel can be when it’s headed by the former chairman of Sheffield Wednesday, a chairman with history between himself and Liverpool is for you to judge. In theory the case wasn’t between Liverpool and Manchester United, it was between the player and his club. But surely there is a conflict of interest here? That former chairman of Sheffield Wednesday is now the Premier League’s chairman – Sir David Richards. The legal adviser on the panel – there has to be a legally qualified member on the panel – was solicitor Peter McCormick an “associate director” of Leeds when the then-Premiership side started to have problems.

McCormick is no doubt very skilled at searching for the appropriate interpretation in any document he has available as evidence, that’s what lawyers are paid to do, but as part of an “independent” panel it’s not his place to take sides. Very little has been revealed as to the actual wording in the letter that said Heinze could leave, but for the panel to declare the letter to be unambiguous does not exactly sit easily with the fact that it took them two days to work this out.

If this weren’t such a serious situation for a player who has stuck his neck out to leave a club he doesn’t like, and a manager he clearly does not get on with, it would be laughable. All the more so given that the decision seems to have revolved around the currency used in the letter for that minimum fee. The panel said that because it was quoted in Euros, it has to mean he was only being offered to clubs in countries where the Euro is in use! That decision really does not stand up to any scrutiny, and if it really was the reason for the decision then an investigation ought to be made. How can the currency used in the letter to be sufficient for it to be “unambiguous in that it envisages only an international transfer”? And how can it take two days to come to such an obvious conclusion?

Heinze’s solicitor, Richard Green, spoke to BBC’s Five Live and was confident that an appeal would be successful, should the player be willing to make one. It won’t happen before the transfer window closes, but if he was successful the Premier League are allowed discretion to let him move, under rule M4. Green said: “My client and myself hoped the appeal would be concluded by the end of the window but that is clearly not going to take place. It is too early to say what may happen. I don’t know if there will be any other teams interested. I don’t know if United’s attitude will change or if they are happy for him to stay or not.” He did confirm today that an appeal is to be made: “We are extremely disappointed with the result and we will be appealing,” he said.

The panel’s verdict yesterday said: “The Premier League Board-appointed panel have heard submissions of evidence from both parties and has ruled to dismiss the player’s case. 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.”

To refer to “Manchester United FC’s transfer policy” as part of the decision is another reason the ruling seems flawed. That policy did not prevent Veron joining Chelsea. Where does the line get drawn in terms of “rivals” in the same league? Tim Howard was sold to Everton last season after being on loan, and that deal was not a stranger to controversy. Conveniently swept under the carpet controversy too. And if United are worried about their rivals, does their policy also exclude Champions League rivals? That means any club in the Champions League of course.

According to Green there were no restrictions – United wanted shot of him and so his agent did as he was asked and tried to find him a new club: “The player believes, as do his advisors, that the fax which was sent – which is the one being talked about – gives him the right to move to any club. The club were happy to sell the player. As a result his agent went to find clubs who were keen to buy him. That is how this has arisen – it is not because he has tried to force a sale or engineer a sale of any sort.”

Of course the idea of avoiding rivals in the Champions League would mean the only other club seriously linked with the player would be unable to sign him. Lyon had considered a move for the player, but want him to commit to being a full-time centre-back. However, as French Champions, Lyon are one of United’s rivals in the forthcoming Champions League.

If Heinze does decide to appeal he’ll continue to be a United player, but will never play in their first team again. If he loses the appeal – and doesn’t then decide to take the matter to the European Court of Arbitration for Sport – he would be stuck until January. However there is every possibility he would be allowed to sign on loan for another club until that January window opened.

Unlike real court hearings, the Premier League hearings are held in private. No doubt the public would hear things the League would prefer them not to hear. However details do still emerge, including the allegation that was reportedly made against Liverpool by the United legal team. It is alleged that they accused Liverpool of trying to get Crystal Palace to sign Heinze before then selling him onto Liverpool. Yes, Liverpool’s long-time friends and allies, Crystal Palace!

Rafa Benítez has had enough. Still reeling from losing two points on Sunday after Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea were falsely awarded a penalty by Roman Abramovich’s builder, Rafa finds this situation “unbelievable”. He said: “I would like to ask the Premier League a number of questions. How can a player with a signed agreement be treated like this? He has a document which is clear, but the Premier League prefers to believe the word of someone else who made a mistake.”

He finds the allegations made against the Reds were also unbelievable: “I know there were accusations made against Liverpool in the hearing which were unbelievable. How can this be allowed?” Don’t expect an answer Rafa – unless the new owners are willing to get a legal team onto this to try and get to the bottom of what was said. If it were true then I doubt Rafa would be bringing the subject up – so Rafa is right to wonder how United could use false information to help their case.

Away from this case, Rafa has got sick and tired of how Liverpool’s fixtures seem to benefit their rivals. It may just be a coincidence, but it’s been happening for some time now. And if it is a coincidence, is it not time that step were taken to stop it from continually happening? Rafa said: “Then I would like to ask the Premier League why is it that Liverpool always plays the most fixtures, away from home in an early kick-off, following an international break? We had more than the top clubs last season and we have four already to prepare for this season.”

And back onto the seemingly preferential treatment that Manchester United get: “Then I want to ask the Premier League why it was so so difficult for Liverpool to sign Javier Mascherano, when we had to wait a long time for the paperwork, but it was so easy for Carlos Tevez to join Manchester United?”

Rafa isn’t under the illusion that all of these issues – and more – can be blamed should Liverpool not win the league. But they don’t help: “It’s going to be very difficult for us to win the Premier League because the other teams are so strong, but I want our supporters to know that despite the disadvantages we have, we will fight all the way.”

In fact Rafa issued a rallying call. Factors outside our control have to be overcome, and his players will fight to overcome them: “We will fight to cope with our more difficult kick-off times and all the other decisions which are going against us.”

It’s unclear now whether Rafa will sign someone else instead of Heinze. Heinze was his first choice and it’s now so late in the day that he may take a chance on keeping faith with the players he has until Heinze is back. He can choose from John Arne Riise, Alvaro Arbeloa and (when fit again) Fabio Aurelio at left-back, although he also sees Heinze as cover at centre-back if needed.

Rafa’s comments are quite out of character, and suggest that he’s determined not to let the Premier League show any further signs of lacking impartiality. Perhaps Sheffield United’s forthcoming court case against West Ham will bring into the public domain some of the secret dealings that take place behind closed doors in the league. For Rafa Benítez to make these complaints so strongly suggests that he too feels something isn’t right behind those closed doors of the Premier League. Or perhaps he’s realised that the louder you scream the more you get away with.

34 thoughts on “Heinze to appeal as Rafa queries PL decisions”

  1. Very one side report in Liverpools favour, smacks abit about being sore loosers. Report both sides of the story

    PS I am not a UTD fan, just like watching EPL

  2. You thick Scouse bastards. Try and read up on some basic contract law before you appeal. Cunts. I hope you all die horribly.

  3. Your article is obviously a biased one against Man U. How on earth do you expect United to simply give in its player without a fight? If they were willing to sell him to anybody, there would be no reason for all this. Simply put, the situation of a willing buyer and willing seller does not arise for any contract between the two clubs to be enforceable. Your memory is so shortlived for you to state that Man United signed Tevez in an easier manner than pool’s deal with mascherano.
    If I may ask, to whom does the player belong legally? Why do you people want to force United to sell its player against their will? If the player really wants a transfer, let him do the simple thing, engage into a gentleman’s negotiation with the club to map out a win win situation instead of teaming up with Liverpool lawyers as though he belongs to the other club. One thing is for sure and as a word of advice to all Pool fans with narrow minds as yours, ” Your success in signing this player entirely depends on Manchester United willingness to sell to you”. No short cuts. This player belongs to Man U with two years left on his contract. You can write about all the appeals in the world and insult the premier league and the Man Utd management, but it will solve nothing in your pursuit for the player. Bullshit

  4. This article is factually skewed out of all recognition with the events that have transpired. I’m a ManU fan and I think Heinze’s desire to go to Liverpool is laughable. Transfers between the clubs just don’t happen. We couldn’t sign Gerrard when he touted for a move to a team capable of winning the league a few years ago and, credit to him as a Scouser, he wouldn’t have come to us anyway. It’s clear that Heinze is contracted to ManU and on what legal planet does a letter negate a contract? My guess is the agent is the driving force behind the transfer request and I reckon the reason he wants to go to Liverpool is for the financial package and for no other reason. The letter is simply a device allowing the agent to talk to teams about a transfer of a currently contracted player, without the letter such discussions would contravene the rules. Heinze is the victim of bad, probably self-interested, legal advice. The bias in this article is woefully in evidence, as with the notion that Tevez transfer was simple in comparison with the Mascherano transfer! Heinze is the victim of his own selfishness, exploited by agents, lawyers, and Liverpool FC. He wasn’t shown the door by ManU (until now). And even if he was, so what? All supporters support the club above individual players. I thought Heinze was great for us but he can go and rot in the reserves for all I care. And Jim, don’t pretend you are in sympathy with a down-trodden player because, be honest, you still were in support of Rafa when he kicked Micky Owen out the door, weren’t? With a clause to be sold to a foreign team, I’ll bet!

  5. Don’t see the problem Ferguson gets £6.8m of Liverpools money to spend wisely, Liverpool get a player who is ‘injured’ , ‘over the hill’ and overrated. If I were a Liverpool fan I would want to know when Benitz is going to start thinking stright—clever coach, I would hate to see a thick one

  6. As a Liverpool website we reserve the right to have at least a little bit of bias towards Liverpool. Are Manchester United websites reporting this story in an impartial way?

    The issue here is that United did not state explicitly in this infamous fax that Heinze could join anyone but Liverpool. Obviously they “meant” to say that – but they didn’t. Did Heinze know they “meant” that? Hard to say. So Heinze’s agent got in touch with us, we put a bid in, then United wanted to put a stop to it.

    From all I’ve read, United made a mistake, and basically want someone to come to their aid and say, “Ah, it’s ok, you said one thing but meant another, don’t worry, we’ll sort it for you.” From the stories that are coming out about that hearing – the Crystal Palace accusations for one – it’s unlikely that United would have got away with this in a real court. The ruling made out it was an open and shut case – it took two days to discuss this open and shut case, all centred around a short fax! It doesn’t add up, and hopefully the appeal will be more transparent.

    I can understand the anger from United fans though – I’d feel the same myself if our CEO had screwed up like this. I bet he never does it again.

  7. Please stop your stupid argument. Will Liverpool ever sale any player to Manchester united? The Answer is NO WAY. So why you expect us to sale you any player?

  8. “a manager who, well-past his retirement age” – wow, Fergie must be good if he’s achieving feats past retirement age that Rafa can’t even come close to.

    To be honest, I’m more than surprised that Liverpool would go to such efforts to try and sign a player that isn’t good enough for United’s first XI. I know I wouldn’t be too happy to see my club drag through all this mess to sign a player who warmed Liverpool’s bench.

    It’s come to a conclusion, one that we are happy with, and the Argie we used to love will be on a plane to Spain soon enough.

    Rafa has thrown his dummy out and I’m not too sure why he’d be so eager to make himself look the fool. He seems to have tried to keep away from that business before, but it appears as though Jose is having a negative effect on Rafa “Red Riding Hood” Benitez.

    Diddums. Get over it.

  9. Fact..he’s under contract for another 2 years. So fuck off and go and steal some cars.

  10. After 10 minutes of trying we have located the URL of the mouthy Peter McCarthy. Will see you soon peter

  11. Mark A: I’m no lawyer, nor are many of those commenting on the case, but I have seen letters used as addendums / amendments to contracts. I’m sure that this is one of those many cases in law where you could almost toss a coin to work out the outcome. I can’t see Heinze going to the considerable expense of hiring what is no doubt an expensive lawyer unless he really did think he had a case. The ruling does not add up – in my opinion. However we’ve not had all the facts, just a lot of spin from all sides.

    As for whether Heinze is a good buy or not, that’s a whole different debate. I’ve warmed to the idea as the story’s unfolded, but share the worries of a lot of Reds that he might not actually be fully fit. And we saw how he played in that CL game against Milan last season too.

    And Michael Owen’s another player you’ll find a massive difference of opinion over. I’d have been angry if he’d gone to United, especially for £8m, but I’d have been angry with Rick Parry had it happened due to him writing a badly-worded fax.

  12. It is now proven without doubt that there is a bias toward Liverpool from the Southern main media to the FA and premiership Politricians, This decision is laughable if it was not true. This means that any team now could begin to say that this team is our rivals so we will not sell that player to them, come on. If Manu go for lets say Micah Richards, Man city could say No, you are our rivals, If Everton want to buy Yakubu, middlesborough want to keep him, they can say Everton are our rivals, therefore will can only sell to a team from another league or country, preferably South America as we dont have many rivals from there. This sounds childish’ i know, but thats exactly what the premier league panel have behaved like. There does not seem to be any objectivity or integrity and fairness from them. Its just blatant stupidity and disregard for the law. All summer from West ham Sheffield Tevez fiasco, referee and agent bungs, corruption to this, they have set up more grey areas that the running of the game makes no sense and you can make of it what you wish. I am sure the reason Fergie and that went down coz they probably know the panel members personally, but Heinz is Argentinian and i bet there is a xenophobic seed at the beginning of this decision and also a hate of Liverpool city, not just the football club. This would not stand in a employment law issue or a human rights issue, both have been rough shod over. I think this is the beginning of the end for Fergie and end which will become disgraceful and taint his career. But in all work places, workers should have the right to change jobs or move to another company free from any discrimination from any one, even their previous employers. Contracts mean nothing to your rights, they can be changed, upgraded, ripped up what ever.
    In effect Heinz is now a prisoner of Manu who are restricting his freedom of choice. Thats wrong in my book, many people across this planet over many years have fought for that little be a self choice and freedom. Shame on them, Shame on the premier league panel whom made this decision, it is now a political issue that stinks of old school prejudices and xenophocia, SHAME ON THE GAME.

  13. I’ve just checked – Ferguson isn’t as old as I thought – but he is past retirement age, which is what I intended to write (as opposed to his retirement age).

    The issue here isn’t, again, whether or not United would want to sell to Liverpool. The issue is, they forgot to point this out when giving Heinze the green light to move elsewhere.

    For those who want to see the story from a Manchester perspective, read the Manchester Evening News version here.


  15. Yes, we will read the Manchester Evening News. But please tell the truce with real facts and not just your opinion.

  16. Jim: I’m no lawyer, but the Premier League has made a decision in United’s favour. That seems quite strong evidence that their case is stronger than Heinze’s. Taking away the football scenairo, do you think that a worker can dictate his “rights” to his employer and then have the industry, which is reliant on the stability of the workforce, backing the claims of the employee and possibly de-stabilizing the whole industry? It’ll never happen. I’m for workers’ rights. I hope he strikes. But both ManU and Liverpool have more to lose than average clubs if the football industry is de-stabilized by clubs losing control of their players. History is written by the victors. And, so far, it seems like bad legal advice because Heinze lost. And I’m glad. He/his agent have been greedy. The only reason he wants to move is to get a longer-term contract i.e. more money. He won’t play more for Liverpool than he would for Man U. Liverpool aren’t a bigger club, their prospects aren’t better, and the weather sure ain’t better in Merseyside. He’s been a fool for pursuing this. He should move to Spain.

  17. you are all as bad as each other, man u and liverpool fans should get a grip
    life’s too short.

  18. no…scouse fuckwits listen up!

    the point is not about the fact that heinze wants to move and that united, fairly, rejected the transfer request. The legal point of the matter is the validity of the letter that heinze is trying to have held up as a legally binding contract. the Premier League held this not to be the case rightly. the first and basic core of contract law is that for their to be a contract there has to be three/four things: 1) Intention to create legal relations 2). offer of terms 3) acceptance of terms and 4). consideration to the detrmiment of the contractee in relation to these terms. as the letter was merely a deemed a mere negotiating tool it fails on everyone of the first three counts (did heinze show acceptnace of these terms? conduct and continued performance clearly would not suffice here so NO!) and, as heinze was already contractually obliged to united, his continued appearences for them is not sufficient to constitute consideration too… so-on failure on all four counts there clearly isnt a contract and the league finding was right. therefor benitez is a cunt and heinze a traitor and you can bang on about bias but you are simply wrong.

  19. It seems Benitez has learned a new big english word – “UNBELIEVABLE”. He used it after the game against Chelsea and immediately Styles gets banned and apologises.Now he`s using it all the time thinking it must be a magic word that makes officialdom bow to his winges. No Rafa, the dictionary term for unbelievable isn`t ” abracadabra”.

  20. Why is everyone getting so hot under the collar and so abusive. OK so we didn’t get Heinze, I personally don’t think that we need him. We have a very good defence as the stats for goals conceded will show from last season.

    As to Fergie’s hatred of Liverpool, that was patently obvious when he expressed his wish that we would lose the last Champions League final.

    I think that it is a bit of a shame that a well-respected elderly chap like him is not able to hide his petty feelings, expressing opinions such as that so publicly will not help relations between the two sets of fans.

  21. I am amazed at the number of Man U fans who read the Anfiled Rd site. They are so easy to wind up. Also they talk about crime in Liverpool when they are shooting each other on the streets of Salford and Moss Side. Some civilized people. To those using filthy language, it shows the class of Man U fans.

  22. What a ridiculous piece of garbage!

    It’s hard to credit that the author of this article could be a professional writer in any way, shape, or form. Rarely have I seen something so utterly biased and lacking in objectivity. It’s nothing but a rabis Liverpool supporter’s anti-United rant glossed up to resemble something more serious and meaningful.

    Grow up. If you have any serious aspirations to being a writer, especially where sports are concerned, learn to step back from your own leanings and present the material in as neutral a fashion as possible. This pile of doo-doo, far from being neutral, reeks of Liverpool angst.

  23. Tim – this is a Liverpool FC fansite. A site about LFC by LFC fans. Can you show me a Man United site run by Man United fans that’s impartial and unbiased? You’ll be telling me Alex Ferguson is impartial and unbiased next! If I ever start a site called anfieldandoldtrafford.com I’ll be sure to be more impartial, but this site is a Liverpool site!

  24. For those asking why Man Utd fans (and neutrals who dont support any epl team like myself) are reading anfield road its because this story is on the front page of google news 🙂

  25. An interesting addition to the story here:


    Gabriel Heinze’s representatives tried to bypass Manchester United’s block on the player moving to Liverpool by engineering a move to Crystal Palace first.

    Under the proposal made to Palace, the Argentina defender would have first been bought by the south London club and then sold on to Liverpool.

    The bid was revealed in evidence given to a Premier League panel earlier this week by Palace chief executive Phil Alexander.

    It is understood Alexander confirmed to the panel that a proposed scheme had been put forward by Heinze’s representatives to secure the eventual transfer of the defender to Liverpool by initially transferring him to Palace.

    The panel went on to reject Heinze’s bid to force United to sell him to Liverpool….

  26. Can anyone tell me is there a precedent for any club preventing its players from freely choosing the club they want to join?
    I never heard it before but if it is common (or even unusual) practice then ManU would seem to have a case.Otherwiswe Ferguon should be prosecuted for false imprionment and be forced to appear before a panel of BBC journalists.

  27. United’s transfer policy is that while a player remains under contract United can decide whether or not to sell that player to a particular club. What an unbelievably silly version of events this article attempts to peddle. Quite laughable. As the last player to transfer between the two clubs was as far back as 1964, what more transparent evidence of clearly structured transfer policy could you ask for btw?

    Incidentally, they sold Veron to Chelsea just in time by the looks of it. But the real reason was obviously that they’d just sold his best mate at United (Beckham) and they’d just bought Ronaldo who they knew was heading quickly towards becoming one of the best footballers in the world game.

  28. this is so funny, manure and their fans are making fools of themselves – they fear liverpool even though i think manure have a better team and im sorry man u fans – you arent able to deal with the situation by the looks of it – i think s.a.f is making a prat of himself – he can buy from rivals but he cant refuses to sell??? i dont think so, i hope heinze goes to liverpool just to see the faces at o.t.

    let it go and sell him, if we’re a shit team and wont win nothing then what the fuck is the big deal???????

    good start to the season manure!!!!!!! 2 points out of 9, everton are better than you……

  29. Starsky

    Youve obviously looked up the word “Contract” on Wikipedia. You are right regarding the four tenents needed to constitute a contract.

    However, the letter can be interpreted as a Heads of Agreement, which are subject to contract – the details of which are not in the public domain. The ruling will be thrown out by European Courts, as under the treaty of Rome, Heinze’s right to ply his trade is being restricted. N.B. this is in spite of him being a non EU citizen.

    Clearly from the abusive language you use, and your ignorance of contract law you are still taking law at GCSE. I hope your results went well, as are clearly in need of an A level in law.

    The pity is, Liverpool dont need a crock. I admire him, but he is a victim of injury and has lost his edge. AC Milan).

    Hope you were tucked up before ten. That studying is tiring. Try Chester if you get those A’s by the way.

  30. United probably paid David Richard bastard to not allow liverpool to buy hienze

    Hienze clearly wants to play with a better team
    with a better new stadium
    better manager
    and better supporters
    fukin man u supporters r all wankas !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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