by Tony Attwood
A couple of days back we ran the story that Arsenal were to appoint an Aussie Rules guru as new director of high performance.
Now with the computer keys barely cooled after typing all the details of that story it seem there is another change at the club as we are appointing a new head of player contracts, Huss Fahmy.
He worked with Team Sky since the time of the inception of the Team in 2010. Before that he worked in the City of London for the multi-national law firm Herbert Smith Freehills – a law firm that specialised in litigation and corporate work.
Although this won’t make any odds to the people who make up the stories each week about players leaving the club half way through their contract, and those who say that players can easily break their contracts at Arsenal, because Arsenal are incompetent at everything, it looks to me like a signal that no one involved in any contractual process with Arsenal from now should ever expect to be able to take the club for a ride.
The arrival of Huss Fahmy suggests that the process of reform that Ivan Gazidis promised is now happening big time. Mr Fahmy will work alongside chief negotiator Dick Law and Ivan Gazidis himself and although it has been reported he will focus on legal issues surrounding contracts, it is worth noting that his job at Team Sky was always reported as “legal and commercial affairs.”
It appears that Mr Fahmy has already left Team Sky and started work at Arsenal last week, working initially on the legal aspects of player contracts.
Fahmy’s job title at Sky was as commercial and business affairs director, which involved him in image rights and partnerships with outside organisations from both a legal and commercial perspective. He is a qualified lawyer and a director of the British Association for Sport and Law.
It has been suggested that in the new arrangement, Law and Gazidis will work on the early stages of a deal either through their contacts with agents or other club executives, while Mr Fahmy will be expected to be more prominently involved with closing negotiations – although this was not the arrangement at Team Sky.
There is no suggestion that Fahmy and Burgess will have any involvement in the identification of players at Arsenal and those who claim to be in the know are suggesting that there will be at least one more significant off-field appointment this summer.
There are suggestions that Shad Forsythe, the head of performance, will work alongside Burgess and Tony Colbert will still stay on as a fitness coach.
Burgess’ role in recent commentaries is being defined as “medicine, fitness, psychology and performance analysis, as well as working with the academy.” It is reported that at Port Adelaide Burgess planned “every piece of physical activity at Port Adelaide, right from the first day of pre-season training to measuring exactly what players would eat.”