It’s my third party and I’ll cry if I want to

THERE are some things in life so complicated that only a select few people can make any sense of them: Quantum mechanics, Bob Dylan’s lyrics, football transfers.

My head nearly exploded trying to understand the sale-and-leaseback method by which Leeds bought a lot of players they ultimately couldn’t afford around 2001. The Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano transfers to West Ham in 2006 made no more sense in my eyes.

So trying to get to the bottom of just how likely Brazilian striker Jo is to move to Manchester City might have been better tackled by someone with a better understanding of the football transfer market than me.

Mind you, it is bloody confusing.

My job this morning was to follow up a report in the Sun which suggested that Jo’s move from CSKA Moscow might be off because, it seemed, he was part-owned by an outside agency.

The Premier League ruled two weeks ago that its clubs could only have players on their books if they completely owned their registration – a regulation brought in to avoid a repeat of the Tevez-Mascherano fiasco which could easily have cost West Ham a lot more than the £5.5million fine they received for cocking up the paperwork.

After a bit of digging, a couple of paracetamol and a long lie down, I discovered that the Premier League hadn’t -as first thought – blocked the transfer. What had actually happened was this: City’s executive chairman had spoken to Premier League chairman Sir David Richards about the new rules just before they came in and established what was and wasn’t allowed.

Armed with that knowledge, Cook then carried on with the job of trying to complete the transfer, all the while making sure it compiled with the Premier League’s rules on third-party ownership.

To complicate matters further, Iran-born businessman Kia Joorabchian’s role also needed to be clarified. It had originally been suggested that he part-owned Jo. But he doesn’t; he has merely been acting as the player’s adviser.

But that raised the question: If Joorabchian wasn’t the third party who had a stake in Jo, then who was?

The answer finally emerged this evening: Nobody. After all the kerfuffle suggesting that the deal was in danger of breaking the rules, it turned out City had nothing to worry about in the first place.

CSKA Moscow, Jo’s current club, own his registration outright. They will, however, have to pass on around 20 per cent of the fee they receive to his previous club Corinthians and to a south American investor who had an interest in the 21-year-old earlier on in his career. Is any this making sense?

It’s still not certain Jo will join City. The Home Office will have to grant a work permit for a player who has just one international cap. (A player has to have figured in 75 per cent of his country’s internationals over the last two years to get one automatically, although there are appeal processes through which the permit can still be granted.)

However, my head is hurting after trying to slash my way through the field of third-party (or, in this case, not third-party) transfers. So I’ll leave the last word to a spokesman for Joorabchian, who tonight summed up the situation far more eloquently than I can.

He said: “There has been a lot of confusion and incorrect information about the ownership of Jo. Kia, who is acting as Jo’s advisor, wishes to stress that categorically no third-party ownership issues are involved with the transfer of the player to Manchester City or any other club.

“CSKA Moscow have an agreement in place with his previous club Corinthians, who would collect a certain percentage of the sell-on fee. This is not, however, a third-party ownership. It is an arrangement between two clubs and is no different from any other deals which contain such clauses.”


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