It’s transfer season all over the world. The fees, as always, are skyrocketing for the A-listers. But what about the little guys? In Europe, the Bosman Ruling allows those whose contracts have expired to move freely from team team. Free agents. Free will. They can do as they wish.
And then there’s Mexico.
Free agency doesn’t exist in Mexican Futbol. There is nothing that even comes close. Once a player fulfills his contract with one team and he does not get sold to another, then the team owner asks the other teams not to sign him. If the player wants to keep playing, it’ll be for the same team, or it won’t be in Mexico. It’s their “pacto de caballeros.”
It’s BS. No free agency. No free will.
Who gains with this famous pact? It’s certainly not the player. Ever year, dozens of players are locked out of the Primera. They can play out of the country, but if they come back, it can’t be without a tribute to their former club. Paco Palencia came back to the Primera to Pumas, but not before thay had to send 500K US to Chivas. If Omar Bravo is to play in Mexico again, Chivas will have to compensated, again.
Couple this with the one-day transfer free for all, known affectionately as “el draft” where teams put up a list of transferables. It’s coming up today. The players get snatched up, hopefully, if they want to continue playing. Sometimes players end up somewhere they just don’t want to be. Occasionally players resist, but not very often. The owners hold all the cards. FIFA frowns upon this of course, but that is all they do. No sanctions.
Mexico’s players could benefit from a Bosman Ruling of their own. Sadly, if ever a similar ruling came to pass, it is more likely that a player would be black-balled before he would ever be allowed to move freely.
Pacto de Caballeros. Hardly.