Soccer: Those contracts that have weird clauses in them


From Mario Balotelli to Luis Suarez, some bizarre and comical requirements sometimes crop up in the written agreements that bind clubs to players. Here are five that stand out.

When he joined AC Milan in 2015, Mario Balotelli’s contract included an anti-scandal clause.


Every summer thousands of players in Europe change clubs. Despite the last two years marked by Covid and its impact on professional club finances, the movements will again be very numerous by the end of August or even a little later for certain countries, including Switzerland. And hundreds of millions of francs will flow from one club to another to acquire those hypothetical rare pearls that will allow some presidents to fulfill their dreams and others to bitterly regret their investment.

But before an agreement can be reached about a player moving to his new environment, the best possible contract must be secured. For the player, of course, but also for the club taking over. Sometimes by inserting strange clauses, to say the least. Thanks to “Football Leaks”, the Madrid daily “Marca” has uncovered five that are not lacking in spice.

Mario Balotelli’s anti-scandal clause

Everyone knows the very special and sometimes somewhat unpredictable character of Mario Balotelli. When the quirky striker was loaned from Liverpool to AC Milan in August 205, the Italians wanted to make sure the international did well. They included an anti-scandal clause in his one-year contract. In summary, it was about abandoning those eccentric hairstyles that Balotelli specialized in, all forms of polemical messages on social networks, as well as some other behavior that could have damaged the image of the Milan club.

This strange clause isn’t the only one that appeared in the various contracts between Mario Balotelli and the clubs he played for. At Liverpool, the English leaders had also contractually awarded him a special bonus of £1m if he was not sent off more than three times for unsportsmanlike conduct in the same season.


Luis Suarez’s anti-bite clause

In the summer of 2014, FC Barcelona made a big step in the market with the transfer of Uruguayan Luis Suarez from Liverpool for more than 80 million euros. A few weeks earlier, the striker had nevertheless distinguished himself in a funny way. In the group stage of the Brazilian World Cup, the striker bit Italian Giorgio Chiellini in the shoulder.

As it was a second replay, FIFA had suspended the player for nine games and four months. Suarez was therefore only able to make his debut in the Blaugrana shirt on the following October 25. According to the English newspaper “Daily Mirror”, the Catalan authorities thought it would make sense to include an anti-bite clause in the contract that linked Luis Suarez with FC Barcelona so that such an incident would not happen again. If the “pistolero” again crushed an opponent’s flesh, he would immediately receive a very large fine. A clause that had the expected positive effect.


Rafael van der Vaart’s anti-red shoe clause

Thanks to Football Leaks, one of the strangest contract bans of the last twenty years has come to light. After his contract with Hamburg expired, Rafael van der Vaart moved to Betis Sevilla in the summer of 2015. The Dutch international and former Real Madrid and Tottenham player, among others, used to wear red boots. A prohibitive detail for the Andalusian leaders, who imposed the contract linking the club to the midfielder, that he was now banned from playing in his red boots. Why? Quite simply because this color is reminiscent of that of neighboring club and opponent Sevilla FC.


Stefan Schwarz’s anti-space clause

In 1999, while playing in Valencia, Stefan Schwarz left the Spanish sun to rain and freeze in the north of England. Fearing the prospect that he might convince Stefan Schwarz to accompany him on this perilous voyage, the English felt it imperative to include in the Swede’s contract a clause prohibiting him from traveling into space.

imago images/Mary Evans

Romeo Castelen’s pay per minute

In the world of football, it is common for an annual salary to be negotiated and the player then paid monthly. An assurance that the Dutchman Romeo Castelen refused when he joined Russian club Volga Nishni in February 2013. Six months without a club and following his departure from Hamburger SV, the international striker (10 caps with the Netherlands) must remain the only player in history – or at least one of the few – paid by his club based on the number of minutes he plays at official games spent the place.

imago sport photo service

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