Raiola in­sists his RM227 mil­lion cut from Pogba’s Ju­ven­tus move to Manch­ester United was clean

New Straits Times - - Sport -

THE re­la­tion­ship be­tween Paul Pogba’s agent and Ju­ven­tus is said to be the fo­cus of Fifa’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the France mid­fielder’s world record £89.3 mil­lion (RM491 mil­lion) trans­fer last sum­mer.

But Mino Raiola, who made a stag­ger­ing £41.39 mil­lion from that one deal, has in­sisted he has not been in breach of the third party own­er­ship rules in­tro­duced by world foot­ball’s rul­ing body in May 2015.

As re­vealed on Tues­day, Raiola ne­go­ti­ated an as­ton­ish­ing deal with Ju­ven­tus when he took a then 19-year-old Pogba from United to Turin in Au­gust 2012.

Be­cause sign­ing Pogba had cost Ju­ven­tus only £1.5 mil­lion, in the event of a fu­ture move they agreed to pay Raiola 50 per cent of ev­ery­thing over a fig­ure of around £40 mil­lion.

Ac­cord­ing to a book pub­lished in Ger­many this week it meant Raiola was paid £22.8 mil­lion from the trans­fer fee alone — as well as a fur­ther £16.39 mil­lion in fees from United and £2.2 mil­lion from Pogba.

The ev­i­dence pre­sented in Foot­ball Leaks: The Dirty Busi­ness of Foot­ball ap­pears to be sup­ported by a state­ment Ju­ven­tus made to the Ital­ian stock ex­change last Au­gust.

The state­ment con­firmed that a sig­nif­i­cant chunk of the money was not be­ing paid to the club. It said: “An agree­ment has been fi­nalised with Manch­ester United for a con­sid­er­a­tion of €105 mil­lion (RM493 mil­lion). The eco­nomic ef­fect is pos­i­tive for about €72.6 mil­lion, net of sol­i­dar­ity sub­sidy and aux­il­iary expenses.”

Raiola told the Fi­nan­cial Times last year: ‘I can’t talk about the con­tract but in a deal like Pogba’s, it’s not just the clubs who earn from it.”

Asked specif­i­cally if it was paid by Ju­ven­tus, he said: “No — not in the way that you’re say­ing it. I have to see how I can phrase this in a way that Ju­ven­tus can­not tackle me through the law, let’s say. Hmm. “How can I say it? (Long pause) Yes: in this deal Ju­ven­tus was not the only owner of the player’s rights.”

He was then asked if that was not there­fore a breach of third party own­er­ship rules, given that it was banned.

“Not then,” said Raiola in ref­er­ence to the fact that he struck the deal with Ju­ven­tus in 2012. “Only af­ter­wards.”

He ad­mit­ted that be­fore 2015, when the new rul­ing was in­tro­duced by Fifa, he did have stakes in some play­ers.

“Not of­ten, but some­times,” he said.

Asked if Pogba was among the clients he had a stake in, he said: “It’s not TPO (third party own­er­ship). Be care­ful with the le­gal def­i­ni­tion of TPO.

“But let’s say that in that case there was an up­side for our side. And by our side, I mean the player’s side.”

Raiola con­ceded that such ar­range­ments are ‘not al­lowed any more’ and the FT also quoted Ju­ven­tus say­ing ‘no third party had any own­er­ship of the player’s rights’.

But one well-placed observer nev­er­the­less posed the ques­tion of ‘where a stake in the trans­fer ends and third party own­er­ship be­gins’.

In April 2015, Fifa said: “Third party own­er­ship of play­ers’ eco­nomic rights refers to third party in­vest­ments in the eco­nomic rights of pro­fes­sional play­ers, po­ten­tially in or­der to re­ceive a share of the value of any fu­ture trans­fers of those play­ers.”

A ban on TPO was in­tro­duced on May 1 that year but Fifa said that ‘ex­ist­ing agree­ments can re­main in place un­til their or­di­nary con­trac­tual ex­piry’.

The gov­ern­ing body also said that ‘as an ad­di­tional obli­ga­tion, all ex­ist­ing agree­ments cov­ered by the ban need to be recorded within Fifa’s Trans­fer Match­ing Sys­tem by the end of April 2015’.

It re­mains to be seen if the Pogba trans­fer comes un­der the scru­tiny of the Bri­tish tax author­i­ties at a time when they are in­ves­ti­gat­ing a num­ber of deals in English foot­ball.

That, how­ever, was de­scribed by one in­sider as a red her­ring, not least be­cause Pogba is not even obliged to sub­mit a tax re­turn un­til Jan 31 next year.

Fur­ther to that, he does ap­pear to have paid his agent a fee for ne­go­ti­at­ing his re­turn to Old Trafford.

HMRC seem to be more con­cerned with deals where clubs have al­legedly paid the agent’s fee for the player, who then has not de­clared it as a ben­e­fit in kind on which he should pay tax. Daily Mail

Mino Raiola

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