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Volume 10 No. 24

Franchises

Chelsea is loaning Diego Costa to Atlético Madrid for the rest of the season and the Spanish club "committed to buy him" for €65M ($77.6M) at the end of that arrangement, according to Jason Burt of the London TELEGRAPH. The deal for Costa to leave was "finally struck" after it was agreed that Chelsea would not subsidize his wages, "even though he cannot play for Atlético until January" because of the club's transfer ban, or pay him any loyalty bonus. The terms of the agreement mean that Costa is "no longer Chelsea’s concern" and he can travel to Madrid to complete his medical and agree personal terms. He is "expected to be presented to the supporters before the home game against Sevilla on Saturday." Given Costa "has gone AWOL for 11 weeks," spending the entire summer in Brazil, and "refused to return to Chelsea this season," the notion of a loyalty payment "would seem remarkable although contractually it related to a percentage of any transfer fee agreed being due to him under his contract." Chelsea repeatedly fined Costa during his absence, "insisting that he is an employee in breach of contract." The Professional Footballers’ Association "blocks players being fined more than two weeks' wages but that is only in the case of them making themselves available to play." Costa has not done that and given he earns £150,000 ($203,700) a week, "he may well be" £1.5M ($2M) "out of pocket." Chelsea was "always prepared to sell Costa" but the message from club Owner Roman Abramovich was clear: "he would not be allowed to force his way out on the cheap" (TELEGRAPH, 9/21). 

The Liverpool tapping-up scandal was "finally resolved on Wednesday after the club and Premier League agreed to pay the school fees and compensation of the 13-year-old victim," according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. More than a year after Liverpool’s "illicit pursuit" of the unnamed schoolboy left his family in thousands of pounds of debt and him unable to play academy football until Stoke City was paid £49,000 ($66,520), Liverpool and the league "reached an out-of-court settlement with his parents." That "spared the boy being thrown out of the private school he had been attending since the age of eight," initially on a two-year scholarship secured by his father and then at the expense of Stoke City. Liverpool, which was banned from signing academy players from other league teams "over the saga" and fined £100,000 ($135,800), faced being sued by the boy’s family "following the collapse of a deal" to sign him from Stoke City that would have seen the club cover his school fees (TELEGRAPH, 9/20). 

'ONGOING' INVESTIGATION: Rumsby also reported an investigation into Man City’s conduct involving youth players is "ongoing," FIFA confirmed. A day after it emerged Chelsea was "being probed over a potential breach" of the governing body’s regulations, Man City was revealed to be "under similar scrutiny." The club denied any knowledge of the investigation on Wednesday and "questioned whether it was the same inquiry" into its recruitment of Benjamin Garré from Argentine side Vélez Sarsfield, which was revealed a year ago. FIFA refused to confirm whether the "ongoing" investigation related to a separate matter, while Man City did not respond to a request for clarification (TELEGRAPH, 9/21).

IN SPAIN: In Madrid, José Félix Díaz reported La Liga sides Valencia and Villarreal are "being investigated by FIFA over alleged irregularities in the transfers of underage players." Both of the clubs have been "looking into the flagged cases for some time and are attempting to resolve any issues without being hit with a sanction like a transfer ban," as Barcelona, Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid were before them -- although Real Madrid successfully appealed that punishment (MARCA, 9/21).

Former Inter Milan President Massimo Moratti said that he has "no intention of buying shares in the club after he was linked with a bid" for current President Erick Thohir's stake. Thohir "ceded a majority stake to the Suning Group almost 18 months ago" but still owns 31% of shares. Moratti said, "I've already sold him 30 percent of the Nerazzurri, so why would I now want to buy it back?" (ESPN.com, 9/21).

La Liga side Villarreal offered Liga MX side Tigres a friendly match in the early October int'l break to "help raise funds for the victims of the recent earthquake in Mexico." There have been "upwards of 200 confirmed deaths following the 7.1-magnitude quake" which struck the country earlier this week (FOOTBALL ESPANA, 9/21).