Belfast Telegraph

Carlos Tevez suspended as Manchester City exit beckons

Manchester City last night suspended Carlos Tevez following his conduct during the Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich.

City confirmed the news after a telephone conference involving senior staff, including chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak.

It comes in the wake of Tevez's refusal to play against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night and seems certain to be the start of a drawn-out disciplinary process that will end the Argentine's stormy two-year period with the club.

"Manchester City can confirm that striker Carlos Tevez has been suspended until further notice for a maximum period of two weeks," said a short statement released by City last night.

"The player's suspension is pending a full review into his alleged conduct during Tuesday evening's 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich.

"The player will not be considered for selection or take part in training whilst the review is under way."

City's decision to suspend him reflected a sense from the highest level of the club that manager Roberto Mancini in no way overreacted when he declared, in an emotional post-match press conference, that Tevez was "finished" at the club.

Aware that the player's representative Kia Joorabchian will not flinch from a legal battle, City will undertake a rigorous investigation into what occurred during the second half against the German side.

Tevez insisted through his spokespeople yesterday that he was the victim of a "misunderstanding", claiming he refused Mancini's demand that he leave the dug-out for a second warm-up, rather than refuse to enter the field of play.

City, who have only recently concluded a root-and-branch investigation which resulted in their former chief executive Garry Cook leaving the club, will now embark on a similar exercise with Tevez.

They will seek witnesses from all possible vantage points, with the then unused substitutes - Pablo Zabaleta, Joleon Lescott, James Milner and Aleksandar Kolarov - suddenly becoming key witnesses.

Mancini's assistant David Platt, who also had an impeccable vantage point, does not feel there was any misunderstanding about the Italian's request that Tevez enter the game. Television footage and interviews will also be examined.

The view from inside the game - and from some legal specialists - is that Tevez is in breach of contract and that the club would be quite within their rights to rip up his contract.

Senior sources at the Premier League certainly believe that is the case and Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce, the former IFA President, indicated last night that it would not be unsympathetic if City took such a course of action.

A fine of two weeks' wages is the maximum punishment under Professional Footballers' Association rules, though an act of gross misconduct falls outside of those parameters.

The club's Abu Dhabi owners involved themselves yesterday in the initial task of analysing the 27-year-old's £250,000-a-week contract to establish whether they are within their rights to dismiss him, though doing so does have drawbacks.

The club paid well over £25m and possibly as much as £45m - neither City nor Joorabchian has been willing to divulge the figure - and were demanding £40m for him this summer.

On the other hand, the vast salary Tevez commands - £1m a month - means that by terminating the contract 30 months before it expires they could save themselves as much as £30m.

City could also use the precedent of the Adrian Mutu case to pursue Tevez for the cost of his future transfer fee, Chelsea securing £14m in damages from Mutu through Fifa's dispute resolution chamber after the striker tested positive for cocaine in 2005.

But the balance of probabilities seems to be weighing against Tevez's contract being torn up and subsequent dismissal.

The more likely course of action is that Tevez will play no future role and will be sold in January.

Rarely has an international break come at such a timely moment for City, handed two weeks' breathing space while Tevez is away with the Argentina squad who play Chile and Venezuela in World Cup qualifiers.

Belfast Telegraph


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