By Walter Broeckx
Last summer Inter Milan bought the Argentine striker Diego Milito and the Brazilian midfielder Thiago Motta from Genua. Both had a great season with Inter that won the league, the cup and off course the champions league. Both players played a major role if we only look at the final of the Champions League when Milito scored both goals for Inter.
So very good signings. Or not?
Maybe not, because at the weekend the Italian Football Association (FIGC) announced that there was something wrong with both transfers.
According to Paolo Cordi, the spokesman of the FIGC, both contracts are not valid. Now the problem is not with Inter but with the selling club Genua. Because the contract for the sale was signed by Genua president Prezisio but he was not entitled to sign those documents. I don’t know if this is the same thing in other countries but in Italy to sign those documents you must have some kind of license and Genua president Prezisio did not have the required licenses.
Now I think in most countries when a contract needs to be signed by three people and one of those people that has signed the contract and was not entitled to sign it, then the contract expires. It is as if it never existed. That’s how things go in the real world but of course it is always possible to ask, is football living in the real world?
So in the next weeks Genua president Prezisio and Inter president Moratti must come to a special Sports Court in Rome. In the worst case, if this Sports Sourt should confirm that the contracts are not valid and have never existed then we are in for some very interesting times.
Because in that case the result would be that the transfer was not realised on paper but the players Milito and Motta did play for Inter Milan in the past season.
Now if a team puts players on the field that are not member of the team, even if it is only for one second in a game then the normal ruling is that this team loses that game. It is the same like when you put a player on that is not allowed to play because he was suspended for that game because of too many yellow cards or a red card. In England there is a similar rule with the FA Cup – if a player has played for one team in the Cup earlier in the season he is not eligible to play for another team. If he does, the second team he plays for forfeits the match.
So this would mean that the Italian football association has to declare that Inter loses all the games in which Militto or Motta have played. I don’t know for sure but I think this would have as a result that Inter would still stay on top of the league, but only if you hold it upside down. So this would mean that they finish in 20th place and would be forced to go down. They would lose the title and Roma would get the title. In that case it looks that most titles in the last decade in Italy are being won off the field.
But if you think that is bad news, lose the title AND go down to the second league in Italy it doesn’t end with that. They would also lose the cup and this would also go to the Roma who lost the final against because in that game both those players have played.
But if and when the Italian Football Association declare the contracts not valid this also will have its repercussions in European football. For here one thing follows another. Putting a player on the field who cannot play in the Italian league means also that they also shouldn’t have played in Europe.
But they did and Bayern knows this very well as it was Militto who scored both goals against them in the final. So if the Italian Sports Court rules that the contract never existed this would mean that Uefa cannot but declare that Inter loses every game one of the two players played in and this would mean that Bayern Munich would win the champions league.
So it is a possibility that Inter instead of winning the treble they could win or better said lose the quadruple. Finish last in the league, go down, lose the cup and lose the champions league.
Will it come that far? Who knows? We are talking about Italy and as we have seen in the last decade in Italy anything is possible in football.
But the question can be asked if it would be fair to punish Inter for a mistake or an error made by another team, Genua in this case. I think we can understand that if you agree terms with a club and the President of that clubs signs the deal that he would be entitled to sign the deal. So we could say that Inter was an innocent party in the deal. You could say that maybe they should have checked at that time but if even the president of a football club cannot be trusted, who can be trusted then?
It will be interesting to see how this goes. Will the law be followed to the letter or not? The judge holds the future of one of the biggest clubs in Italy in his hands. We don’t want that football is decided in court but can football not follow the normal rules in society?
And if Arsenal ever buy a player in Italy, I hope the board is careful with who signs at the dotted line.
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