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Carlos Tevez and Rosario Central: between illusion and the “Sinister Pact”

The notice was clear: if he did not reinforce the team with certain players (list included) the newspaper would begin to criticize him. Luis Artime (father), brand new DT of the team, mythical scorer, straight guy, sent the messenger to hell. And the newspaper (taking advantage of the fact that the first results were not good) carried out the threat. The episode had happened years before and Artime told us about it in 1982, in an investigation by the DyN agency on the dangerous influence that some football representatives were beginning to have. They were not as famous as Guillermo Cóppola and Settimio Aloisio, but more low profile. Years later, Gustavo Marcardi became famous. And then it was Gustavo Arribas. None of them, however, expanded as much as Christian Bragarnik, today the supposedly key man for the unexpected landing of Carlos Tevez as the new DT of Rosario Central.

Christian Bragarnik, businessman and soccer player representativeFile, Archive

The representatives (not all, of course) swelled commissions, double contracts and illegal accounts. An underworld that exploded in 2015 with Football Leaks, the leak of the Portuguese hacker Rui Pinto, the Julian Assange of the ball, who is also on trial today, accused of ninety crimes, and threatened with twenty-five years in prison. The problem was that the leaks also exposed a network of arbitral bribes and Benfica, his accuser, is “a sovereign state” within Portugal, as The New York Times once described it, with friendly judges and officials and half a country that supports him. .

Rui Pinto, 33, who lives in hiding as a “protected witness,” said last week that while the trials against him progress, his complaints remain paralyzed and are on the way to prescription. The investigation of him began when the investment fund Doyen began to rule in his beloved Porto and the property of the best players passed to mysterious offshore companies. Also on the list were the transfers of Marcos Rojo (Sporting) and Paul Pogba (Juventus), both to Manchester United. The Frenchman went through 105 million euros. The same agent (Mino Raiola) represented both clubs and the player. His record commission was 49 million euros.

Mino Raiola, Paul Pogba's agent -with him in the photo- and Zlatan Ibrahimovic among many others;  he passed away recently, aged 54
Mino Raiola, Paul Pogba’s agent -with him in the photo- and Zlatan Ibrahimovic among many others; he passed away recently, aged 54https://twitter.com/Akwasi_Ayala

Raiola died two months ago. He was 54 years old. The last transfer of him, still sick, was that of the Norwegian Erling Haaland to Manchester City. Raiola was at odds with Pep Guardiola for having defended Zlatan Ibrahimovic, perhaps the player closest to him. But he had assured Alfie (Haaland’s father) that he would match offers and that the final decision would be left to his son. His commission was $41.7 million, much of that for Haaland Sr. Raiola inflated the business so much that FIFA, tired of agents charging much more money than the training clubs, set limits.

As of July 2023, relatives of players will not earn commissions if they do not have a license (Neymar’s father received 40 million euros for his son’s move from Barcelona to PSG). The new regulation, which will be approved in a few months, establishes that the agents will only charge up to ten percent of the value of the transfer and that they will not be able to represent the three parties. In addition, it will require that the commissions be paid in the place of residence of the agent.

Kylian Mbappé poses with the Paris Saint-Germain shirt after agreeing the renewal with PSG, which became a matter of state and received fierce criticism from Real Madrid
Kylian Mbappé poses with the Paris Saint-Germain shirt after agreeing the renewal with PSG, which became a matter of state and received fierce criticism from Real Madrid

Will Haaland have been the last mega-millionaire commission of the representatives? PSG got Kylian Mbappe at a golden price and even President Emmanuel Macron spoke with the crack so that he would not leave France. The most friendly press of Florentino Pérez, almighty president of Real Madrid, reacted furiously to the rudeness and pointed against the power of Qatar. We have been believing for years that the football bubble will burst one day. But it just keeps growing. Because oil states, investment funds, cryptocurrencies or new platforms appear that need the carrot of goals to prevail in the market. The eternal gray areas of football, in the times of Artime and also in those of Financial Fair Play, always attracted multicolored money. And the bookmakers, which used to be a forbidden word, today are on shirts, courts, sponsorships of Federations and with massive announcements in full transmission of the game.

Carlos Tévez, in his presentation as technical director of Rosario Central
Carlos Tévez, in his presentation as technical director of Rosario CentralMarcelo Manera – THE NATION

In our poorest football, Bragarnik represents much more than three parts. It is our possible Qatar. It has players, coaches and even clubs. Some see him as Santa Claus. Others do not ask which players he will bring, but which youth players he could keep. And now he appears with Tevez. All the movements of the Tevez-player had mystery. The MSI fund, the Iranian agent Kia Joorabchian, Arribas, China. His career as a DT did not have to start differently. His name, the media hype and the supposed reinforcements of Bragarnik (and some outstanding efforts) generate illusion.

But there are also dozens of partners who distrust and will ask the court to demand that the contracts be shown. They criticize a Board of Directors that, four months before the elections, intends, says member José Abelí in the newspaper La Capital, “to privatize the club in a cunning and covert manner.” Central was founded in 1889 by railroad workers and its first headquarters was a railroad car. Someone remembered “Strangers on a Train”, an old Alfred Hitchcock movie. In Argentina we knew her as “Sinister Pact”.

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