Sporting president rages against third-party 'monster' after Rojo's Manchester United move

Bruno de Carvalho wants action taken against the likes of Doyen Sports to limit their influence but the company themselves insist they are "transparent" in their dealings
By Peter Staunton

The Sporting Lisbon president, Bruno de Carvalho, has launched a fresh broadside against third-party ownership in the wake of Marcos Rojo's controversial transfer to Manchester United.

De Carvalho said that football has reached a critical juncture in regard to investment funds and urged authorities to either regulate third-party ownership or ban it outright.

"The funds like they are right now are a menace to sports and for football," he said at the SoccerEx Global Convention in Manchester. "Nobody can run a club with five or 10 or 20 per cent of a player."

Sporting expect to face Doyen in court over the terms of Rojo's contract, which the club claimed was invalid after his departure for Old Trafford. De Carvalho says the club's legal team have looked closely at the original terms of the deal with Doyen and declared it void.

"It was invalid," he said. "That contract means manipulation. It means engagement with the management [of the club]. It's not a contract. It's null.

"Without a doubt it was bringing manipulation to the game and that is not good.

"We made at the time a public statement. We said that the contract was not where the two parties are in the same position. One of the rules it is that the funds cannot be engaging with the management and not manipulate the management and they did it."

The contract, signed before De Carvalho's tenure, stipulated that Doyen owned 75 per cent of the Argentine's playing rights and they were entitled to shop him around to suitors.

Article 18 of Fifa's Rules on the Status and Transfer of Players states: "No club shall enter into a contract which enables any other party to that contract or any third party to acquire the ability to influence in employment and transfer related matters its independence, its policies or the performance of its teams".

"They are making a lot of business in Portugal," De Carvalho said of Doyen. "I don't think this is fair for the truth in sport. Because the truth in sport everybody needs to do like we do. We need to work hard, we need to sell players and to buy players."

Sporting have since paid back the original €4 million loan given to them by Doyen to register Rojo but the investment funds are expected to attempt to claw another €11m back following the €20m transfer.

De Carvalho claims that Doyen offered Rojo to "all the world" this summer and not only the record English champions.

He also said that Rojo would have been happy to remain at Sporting but found United's offer too good to turn down.

"He was very happy to be in Sporting but he felt the opportunity to come to Manchester was very good so now he is in in Manchester," he said.

In his short time in office, De Carvalho is regarded to have cleaned up Sporting's finances and he now refuses to make any further deals with investment funds for players and has urged the authorities to look closely at the matter.

"When I began in football my idea was to regulate the [investment] funds because it is a way that clubs can arrange a financial solution," he said. "So I think that the main issue is, that the ones that needed to, didn't make the regulation and now it is a monster.

"We are in the same line as Uefa and Fifa [regarding third-party ownership]. But what I want is for them not only to say but to do something.

"Say we are going to put rules that makes everything fair because nowadays football is not fair."

Doyen later issued a statement on De Carvalho's comments.

"Doyen has a strong track record in working with clubs across the globe. The Doyen model of finance is not only endorsed by many clubs but also backed by associations and leagues as seen recently by the Spanish Federation. We operate in an open and transparent way and we welcome regulation in this sector," their statement read.

"We categorically do not manage or influence the player and we ensure that is written into every contract we have with the club.  With it becoming even more difficult to source finance from banks, Doyen provide clubs with a much needed source of income to help them compete against clubs with bigger budgets. A perfect example is in the form of Atletico Madrid who are doing so well, in part, to Doyen's support.

"In the case of Sporting Lisbon, that is now a matter for our lawyers who are taking action. This is the first ever issue we have had and it's with a specific president who now wants to renege on a bona fide contract that his club have signed. We welcome taking the matter to court."