Every now and then, we like to give you, the reader, an esoteric South American soccer update. In today’s news, we looked closely at happenings in Paraguay, your favorite loser from the “War of the Triple Betrayal” err “Alliance.” Some pretty hysterical legal happenings have caught the headlines, but a more sobering fact got buried.
First things first, Paraguay’s parliament recently passed a “Footballer Law”. The Paraguayan clubs are happy because it allegedly modernizes some of the legal principles governing contracts. The players are pissed, threatening a strike, because the law now allows top division clubs to field fewer (now only 15) pro players. They fear this will lead to more amateurs.
However, the pro/amateur line is not so bright in Paraguay. Why? Because non-payment of wages to players and bitter, protracted legal disputes are the norm, not the exception. Things are even bad between clubs and sponsors. Club Olimpia has allegedly sued beer sponsor Pilsner for using the Olympia logo in an ad without prior authorization. However, in investigating this story, I stumbled across an even more sobering fact.
Right now, at this very moment, Olympia has 40, yes, forty, yes, cuarenta, lawsuits pending against it. How is that possible? Well, it’s actually a decrease in lawsuits. Marcelo Recanate was the President of the club for about 2 years and, when he left, there were over 100 lawsuits. Some folks just don’t like to pay employees, I wager.
The most interesting case is the one of Pablo Zeballos. He claimed he was owed a little under two million dollars but the Paraguayan Football Association said it was not competent to judge the case. Thus, Zeballos took his case to a sporting tribunal in Switzerland and won. And guess what? His club, Olimpia, is appealing the ruling because he “allegedly” didn’t try and use (“exhaust”) a Paraguayan method (like a Court?) to resolve the matter.
I suspect that the heads of Olimpia and the Paraguayan Football Association are pretty close, hence the Association’s reluctance to step in and fine or sanction one of the bigger clubs. Still, it’s pretty hysterical that the club is using the football association’s incompetence to try and excuse a foreign judgment from a competent tribunal. I’m exhausted just trying to wrap my head around how that legal chicanery makes sense in any universe not ran by Q.
Thus, there you have it – in Paraguay, unpopular laws get passed and everybody is suing one another. And you thought being a Spurs fan made you pitiable.