MEDIATION IN A UK SOCCER DISPUTE
28 JANUARY 2024
RECORD SIGNING LATE FOR TRAINING
Episode 1 concluded with “Ms Chair became aware of suggestions that the unmarried centre half had a roving eye and that the new striker was having difficulty persuading his wife to come to Felixstowe with their two children.
Football players – especially big fee stars – are thrust into the public eye. They are new to Felixstowe Town Football Club – FTFC – and their every move around the clock is watched and monitored by reporters ever keen to spill the beans about a player’s private life.
There was pre-signing talk that the Centre–Half was something of a playboy and that his departure from Juventus to FTFC was linked with his tendency to have liaisons with attractive female models. Ms Chair was warned, in particular, that the handsome No 5 defender followed his manly instincts and spread his favours, on occasions, with females already in relationships with fellow team members.
The No 5 was given a private dressing down by the Coach. Marital infidelity and/or liaisons dangereuses fell foul of the noticeable team spirit that Ms Chair and the Coach had cultivated among all the staff at the Club. Happy Couples contributed significantly to team spirit. No philandering!
But just as this problem was surfacing in FTFC, word gets out that The Striker has arrived late at the training ground. A problem is brewing. The Striker’s wife is still based with her children in Bologna. She is comfortable in a well-to-do part of the City. She is close to her parents and to her in-laws and is dragging her feet on a move to Felixstowe.
The wife has yet to visit Felixstowe, hoping that her husband can live alone during the week in the UK and fly home to Bologna each weekend. This works for the first three weeks of the season when the team are involved in Saturday matches which enables the #9 to fly home in a private jet for two nights before re-joining the squad for training. The Club have assumed that this is a short -term solution and will disappear when the players secures a house sufficiently large for the player, the wife, the two children, the au pair and alternating parents.
But problems arise. The Striker is always rushing from a Saturday match to airport to home and return to Felixstowe for Tuesday morning training. Something has to give and eventually the Striker duly fails to appear for a Tuesday training session.
The player has a problem – his family are in Bologna and the Club are sympathetic. But one absolute No-No is lax player discipline for timekeeping.. The other players are watching to see how the Coach handles the situation. If he buckles then the squad will soon be arriving late with lame excuses
The Coach does not buckle. He acts promptly and fines The Striker £10,000 when he arrives 45 minutes late for training. He does not humiliate the player in public because he wants him to settle down at the Club but the Coach has to maintain squad discipline and all the squad have to know that. No favouritism
The fine is paid and Squad discipline is maintained. But the Club know there is a problem. If the player’s family remains in Bologna, sooner or later he will again be late for training. Punishment is necessary but it is not a long term solution.
Ms Chair rolls up her sleeves. She calls in a few favours from well placed Box Owners who are active in property. Her priority is to get The Striker’s family to Felixstowe and the property has to be substantial enough to accommodate the players family and regular visits by both sets of parents.
But while this is happening, the No 5 with the roving eye – and more – is spending evenings in the bars and Clubs of London’s West End.
EPISODE 3 – MS CHAIR READS THE RIOT ACT