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The John Obi Mikel saga looks likely to end this week with FIFA sanctioning a move to Chelsea for the Nigerian under-20 player.
The John Obi Mikel saga looks likely to end this week with FIFA sanctioning a move to Chelsea for the Nigerian under-20 player. Although the FIFA Player Status Committee is likely to endorse United's position that the club acted wholy appropriately and legally, they will conclude that the player has the right to determine his own destiny, according to reports in the media today. Mikel, despite publicly claiming delight at joining United back in April, has since switched his allegiance to the London club amid claims of kidnapping, bungs and pressure being brought to bare on the player.
As Rant reported earlier this year Mikel went from delight at joining the Reds, proclaiming it a "dream" to move to United, to claiming that he'd been forced to join the club just a few days later. In truth Mikel was happy to join United and as FIFA will concur the club acted legally. Indeed, Mikel's contract with United is legally binding. However, FIFA will not ratify the contract claiming that Mikel should choose where he wants to play.
How did it come to this? Clearly something happened between April 29th when Mikel signed a contract with United and May 11th when he went missing in John Shittu's car. That 'something' was money and greed; the stench of Russian Mafia is strong. Mikel was shown the colour of oil money and a number of parties, including agent John Shittu, stood to lose out financial should the player join United.
Lyn Oslo for their part have backed away from refusing to deal with Chelsea even though they have heavily criticised them and especially John Shittu, the agent acting on the player (and Chelsea's) behalf. It's no surprise as they are essentially only after the biggest fee possible.
Shittu, for his part, will have won the day with at best dubious tactics and at worst possible criminal behaviour. The mere fact that he is so clearly acting for both club and player is against FIFA regulations. However, he has played the media game well and while Chelsea have kept their council and United protested, Shittu has sought to blacken Lyn Oslo's name and pressurise FIFA into declaring in favour of the player. Moreover, Shittu isn't even Mikel's FIFA sanctioned agent. That rather dubious honour lies with Daniel Fletcher, whom Rant interviewed back in May.
The case, should FIFA rule as many people expect, sets an awful precedent. Effectively FIFA are saying a player can move if he says he's unhappy with a contract he signed. This is yet another step in the direction of total player power. It won't be long before players are switching clubs on a weekly basis depending on who's paying the most at any given time. Mercenaries like John Shittu and John Obi Mikel will love it; the ordinary football fan will be even more alienated from the game that used to be played for them.
Without going over the evidence of the case once again, it's also another pointer that suggests Chelsea are willing to use their money beligerantly to acheive 'success' whatever the cost. They're fast becoming unbeatable both on and off the pitch but surely the FA or FIFA must act to keep them in check sooner or later?
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