Stein traces contracts from trout farm to 'art form'

By AFP, London

Having once attempted-unsuccessfully-to get Lazio to furnish Paul Gascoigne with his own trout farm, Mel Stein knows more than most about the quirks and curiosities of footballers' contracts.
Lazio were unable to meet Gascoigne's demands following his 1992 move from Tottenham Hotspur, explaining simply that there were "no trout in Rome", and made amends to the keen fisherman with a bonus payment.
As Gascoigne's representative, Stein negotiated the contract and 25 years on he told AFP the deals that tie players to clubs have acquired such levels of complexity they can be considered "an art form".
"There's a lot more intellectualism in them," Stein said during an interview at his London office.
"There's a lot to think outside the box about-for example, if you're doing a contract in a World Cup year.
"The other thing is to claw back the player's commercial (value) and the merchandising. Can you try to divide the contract up so you get some payment for image rights?"
He adds: "It's all about bonuses. Do you think your player's going to be an international? Then you get more money per cap.
"Obviously there's promotion bonuses, salary rising after a certain number of appearances, salary doubling or tripling on promotion, depending on which league you're going to.
"You try and avoid a drop clause, though most clubs insist on it-a 25 percent deduction on your salary if the club goes down.
"But you try and balance that by saying, 'If you go down, we want an exit clause. And let's agree a fee for that.'"