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Say Goodbye To The Salary Cap

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rosella-sensia.jpgAs of this moment, there will be no more salary cap for Roma if they want to continue to operate as a competitive club. There was an utterly astonishing ruling today regarding a case involving former Hearts midfielder Andy Webster which says that any player under 28 years old can buy out their contract after 3 years for the remaining salary they are owed, while anyone over 28 can do it after 2 years of their current contract. FIFA can decide to multiply the value owed by a factor of 1.5, but no more. Just as we have a Bosman transfer, we now have a Webster transfer.

I don't know how else to say it, this cannot be overemphasized: the world of football has been completely turned on its head. This changes absolutely everything when it comes to contracts and transfer fees. Feel free to imagine minuscule transfer fees and many, many short term contracts. Some feel we will never see a contract longer than three years again:

Those close to Hearts have been stunned by the outcome, with one leading sports lawyer remarking yesterday that he feared no player would receive a contract longer than three years. "All we have now is more negotiation, more money to agents and more money going out of the game," he added.

As far as Roma goes, look for contract talks with Matteo and Amantino to escalate immediately. Mancini's extension will probably be vaulted to the forefront, and he's going to get a helluva lot more money than he expected. From what I understand, it starts when the newest contract goes into play. So if a player has an extension, it starts when that extension starts. I.e. Mancini signs tomorrow after his contract is up in 2009 when he'll be 28 (or 29). He can therefore opt out in 2011.

Transfer fees are going to go through the floor. The "transfer budget" is no longer relevant. The big matter is the wage budget. And depending on when Roma got word of this, I wouldn't be surprised if it completely impacted the happenings of the mercato later into the evening.

I also suspect "lifelong" players are about to become much fewer and farther between. I still have no worries regarding The Holy Trinity of Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi and Alberto Aquilani. The rest of the squad? We'll have to see. Everything points to players loving to play in Rome and playing for Roma. So this may even turn out to be a good thing for the club and many other clubs which could be considered "romantic". Whereas Rosella & Co. wouldn't spend that money for transfers, they may reinvest it completely into the wage budget and become a European giant off the field as well (we hope). And had we seen this 12 months ago, I suspect we may be watching Crystal Chivu in red & yellow this season as well.

We shall see, but this is massive. Absolutely massive. There will surely be a big reaction over the next few days. And I can't imagine many are going to like it.