It’s now 23 years since the court ruling that granted the Bosman free transfer policy. It all started in 1990 when then RFC Liege midfielder, Jean-Marc Bosman fancied a change. He had been at the club for a couple of years and things did not really work out as expected. The swirling swing issue arose as his contract was approaching its end, and a better offer was tabled by Dunkirk in France. All that remained was for the clubs to agree on a transfer fee, but they both couldn’t. Liege demanded around £250,000, far more than Dunkirk were willing to pay. When the deal collapsed, Liege cut Bosman’s wages by 75% much to Bosman’s chagrin. He was grounded and couldn’t make the move again. In desperation, he contacted a lawyer called Jean-Louis Dupont.
Despite attempts to resolve the issue, all efforts proved abortive. On December 15, 1995, the court ruled in Bosman’s favour. By then his career was all but over, but his actions started a revolution that has created more issues in world football between clubs and players. This birthed the killer player power issues.
Chelsea like several clubs before now are facing a similar issue with Belgian goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois. Having stated his desire to leave the club for a move to Madrid, the player decided to break the rules by failing to report for duties as expected. This is an intentional act in order to force the transfer. This is quite a pathetic attitude from a player who Chelsea famously made first choice at the expense of selling then long-term first choice goalkeeper and club legend, Petr Cech. The hard-line of this fallout is that the player is trying to coerce and force the club into selling him especially with his current deal just remaining one year left. But if the club doesn’t then he is liable to move for free next summer.
Players’ commitment have often been questioned by the staggering amount being paid to them by interested clubs of which the Bosman ruling has aided. In Courtois’ case, the club must first hand him a disciplinary sanction for failing to report back without any official permission. Secondly, they must make it clear to the player and his representatives that they won’t be bullied into selling him until a suitable replacement is brought in to fill his place. He must be told that no player is bigger than the club and must avoid having sending a wrong signal of being weak to handle players’ indiscretions.
Our best players must respect club rules and decisions. When Manchester United David De Dea wanted to force a move out of the club, the United hierarchy shunned all his player power tricks even with his contract just a year left and acted on their terms. Chelsea must do same. Allowing Courtois to have his way coercively will give room for other players to do same and this will create unnecessary tensions and crisis at the club.
We are a big club and must prove our worth by doing what is right for the club.
Let’s hope for the best. Cheers!