Thursday, 17 May 2007

Joorabchian Speaks

Carlos Tevez is the man in the eye of a transfer storm and Kia Joorabchian is the man with all the answers, so says Lee Clayton in an exclusive interview in the Mail. Joorabchian is the Iranian born businessman whose company owns Tevez and took him to West Ham in a sensational coup that has turned into a ferocious battle for Premiership survival. He has remained quiet — until now, as he answers the crucial questions on the transfer of Tevez to Upton Park.

How did you get to own Tevez?
I wanted to buy a club in England but I was drawn to Brazil, where there were many commercial possibilities. It was first suggested to me by Pele’s agent. Corinthians were a club with 25million supporters, the second biggest club in Brazil, but gates were as low as 12,000. I needed a player to spark interest and bring the club to life. We looked at many videos, spoke to different scouts across South America and everyone thought we should buy Robinho. Then I saw one DVD of one game of Boca Juniors, involving Carlitos. I knew he was the player. I flew to Buenos Aires and tried many times to sign him. Each time they said No. They kept on saying No and I was going crazy! He was the player I wanted. In the end, Carlos decided that he wanted to come and my company agreed a £14million transfer fee with Boca, a South American record. He came to meet me to sign in a Shell petrol station, wearing his flip-flops! When Carlos flew to Sao Paulo, word got out that he was coming. There was a dinner for 400 Corinthians officials but 3,000 people forced their way into the room and 20,000 lined the streets outside! He started slowly but once he started scoring goals, it was phenomenal. I said to him then: "This project is yours and mine. You do your bit and I will do mine." One day he played for Argentina in Uruguay and then took a private jet back to Sao Paulo and played the next night for Corinthians! They loved him for that. Within the first season, we had brought in five or six outstanding players, we won the title and broke the Brazilian record for stadium attendances. And a little sensation at the centre of it all was Carlos Tevez.

How did you end up at West Ham?
I had to return to England after the death of my father. I was trying to buy West Ham and so I showed him that the club had massive potential, with a huge fan base. He wanted to come to England, along with Javier Mascherano, to join me. Like me, he was excited by the potential. He hoped to be playing for a club competing for a place in the top six. When I didn’t buy the club, I had zero hard feelings but, even though he could have left in January, he was happy to stay. He has a great love for the club and the fans.

The original deal?
It was a situation similar to Alex Song going to Charlton, or Tim Howard to Everton, or Glen Johnson to Portsmouth. We did everything right. The proof is in the pudding, because nobody at the Premier League asked for me to go there and give evidence. They knew that we had behaved correctly. We used top lawyers, top accountants. We made sure everything was done. We’ve been involved in many other deals and didn’t have a single problem. It wasn’t a shady transfer. It wasn’t a controversial transfer. It wasn’t a strange transfer. It has been said of the old administration at West Ham that they had not presented the correct documents to the Premier League. I don’t know, but whatever happened I’m sure could have been repaired to prevent all this controversy. What I am very upset about — and sad about — is that Carlos has been dragged into this affair, when he has nothing to do with it.

What happened once the Premier League had made their ruling and the contract needed to be negotiated in order for Tevez to play?

LC: Did you agree to tear up the contract?

KJ:West Ham have unilaterally terminated the agreement and I have left it in the hands of my lawyer, Graham Shear, to deal with the matter.

LC: Are you comfortable with that.

KJ: Yes.

LC: To qualify Carlos to play, to satisfy the Premier League?

KJ: I am assuming so, or else he wouldn’t have been able to play.

LC: Who now owns Carlos Tevez, is he a West Ham player?

KJ: He is registered to West Ham.

LC: If he moves to another club, do West Ham make a profit?

KJ: No. To use an analogy, take Ben Foster. If he transferred to another club, do Watford get the transfer fee?

LC: Is the loan deal indefinite?

KJ: No.

LC: If he doesn’t stay at West Ham, could he go on loan to another club?

KJ: Yes.

LC: Do West Ham have a buy-out option on him?

KJ: That is confidential, but we are more than happy to talk to West Ham to try to resolve the problem, if they wish. Of course, Carlos’s views are paramount.

Sportsmail has since learned that the buy-out clause to own Tevez outright is £40million.

Third Party transfers?
They are a way of bringing outstanding players to clubs that would not be able to afford them ordinarily. So they increase the competition. Why should only Manchester United and Chelsea be able to afford the best players? What happens, in Brazil particularly, clubs cannot afford to buy a player. So they go to a business, a bank, a major supermarket, an individual, a person, a wealthy individual and say: "We want Mr X. You put up 70, 80, 100 per cent of the money, let him play here." It is a little bit like a loan deal between two clubs, except it is a loan deal between the club and a third party. You buy the player outright, you invest in the player and the clubs sign him from you; they take the registration, the rights on any resale belong to you. It does not give you any right to influence when he can play or where he should play. Unlike some of the loan deals in England, where, for instance, Ben Foster or Tim Howard cannot play against Manchester United. In all the time that Alan Curbishley has been manager, I have only spoken to him once and that was when he called to tell me he wanted Carlos to stay. We never had any recourse with any of our other transfers, not a single one. Michel Platini has said this sort of transfer is a common occurrence in parts of Europe and in South America.

Can Tevez stay at West Ham?
West Ham's board have to decide what their intentions are. Maybe they will think they want Carlos and build around him. Or maybe they will think that, for the money, they can buy four or five great players instead. We haven’t held talks with any club, contrary to what you might have read. This morning it was Inter Milan for £25m, the other day it was Real Madrid for £30m. These stories are the work of fiction. He has a great affection for the club — and the supporters. The decision on his future is his. He has been very happy there. I have a great respect for Eggert Magnusson, I believe they will be very successful in the future. Even though I didn’t buy the club, I have zero hard feelings towards them. As for Carlos, you must remember, he is only 23. He will get better and better.


Brownlow said...

When asked if he had agreed to his Tevez contract being torn up it is interesting to note that his answer is that 'West Ham have unilaterally terminated the agreement...' Unilaterally means on their own - or in other words - he didn't agree to it! To say he has left it in the hands of his lawyers gives away nothing as to the view they take on the termination! The whole thing has a stench of deliberate deviousness about it which is apparent to anyone trying to get to the bottom of it all.

Lewis said...

The sooner Carlos is not owned by MSI the better. Players should play for clubs and be owned by clubs. If every player was owned by a third party, each team would have a completely different squad each year. Eggy should dip in his pocket and buy him outright, even at say £30, if you sold him in 3 years you would get most of it back!


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