Published in Nacional number 748, 2010-03-16

Autor: Berislav Jelinić

EXCLUSIVE A contract for debt

Eduardo still Mamic's slave

NACIONAL reveal details of the secret contract signed by footballer Eduardo da Silva and Zdravko Mamic, according to which da Silva will be required to pay Mamic a large percentage of his earnings abroad until the end of his career

LONDON AFTER ZAGREB The contract of investment does not reveal the sum of money that arrived in Dinamo from the Eduardo transfer to ArsenalLONDON AFTER ZAGREB The contract of investment does not reveal the sum of money that arrived in Dinamo from the Eduardo transfer to ArsenalEduardo da Silva, the famous Croatian national team player who currently plays for the renowned English club Arsenal of London, was to have paid Zdravko Mamic, one of the leading people in the Dinamo Football Club, and a person who figures to be the most powerful man in Croatian football, a percentage of his earnings until the end of his career. This can be concluded on the basis of a contract of investment, that da Silva signed with Mamic and his former Brazilian manager Hélio Augusto Suzano at the beginning of his career in 1999. This exclusive and until now highly guarded document points to an active system of secret relationships between powerful managers and football players that dominates Croatian football, under which the payers effectively have the status of life-long slaves to their managers.

The contract of investment, of which Nacional has a copy, shows that Mamic has effectively turned some footballers into his life-long debtors. Similar reports, that had until now been unconfirmed, had previously reached the State Attorney's Office. They assert that the bulk of Dinamo's former players, that are now playing abroad, have contracts with Mamic according to which they have to pay him a large percentage of each pay earned abroad until the end of their careers.

The contract that Nacional has a copy of outlines what the nature of the relationship between Eduardo da Silva, Zdravko Mamic and Hélio Augusto Suzano was to have been. It contains 14 articles, with the first stating that the contract is signed with the intent to cooperate until the end of the player's professional career. In the contract Mamic is listed as patron, da Silva as a footballer, and Hélio Augusto Suzano as plenipotentiary. In the second article it states that all of the contractual parties confirm that it is their joint goal and interest to create conditions for the signing of the best possible transfer contract for the player to a football team, either domestic or abroad, as well as other contracts concerning a footballer's professional career.

In the third article of the contract it is stated that Mamic paid out da Silva and Hélio Augusto Suzano 50,000 US dollars, and that he will administer his legal, medical, expert and all other concerns that may eventually arise, until the end of his career. The fourth article is the disputed section. It states that Eduardo da Silva is actually required to pay Zdravko Mamic a considerable portion of his earnings until the end of his career.

"The contracted parties agree, bearing in mind the entire relationship and total investments between the patron and footballer, that until the end of the footballer's professional career all transfers and earnings on the basis of marketing that the footballer gains as a professional player, will be allotted according to the following proportions: 25 percent to the patron [Mamic], 25 percent to the plenipotentiary [Suzano] and 50 percent to the footballer. All other earnings, including salary, and bonuses that Eduardo da Silva collects as a professional football player will also be divided among them in the same ratio. The contracted parties also establish that the patron, along with the aforementioned, will also receive the right to compensation for his investment of 50,000 US dollars..."

Of particular interest is the fact that it is nowhere mentioned what percentage of a transfer fee for da Silva's move to another club would go to his former club Dinamo. In the fifth article it is established that da Silva concedes his marketing rights to Mamic, and authorizes him to negotiate and propose the signing of such contracts, as well as to independently select contractual partners regarding marketing issues, such as selecting sports equipment, the sale of marketing rights, public appearances and so forth.

Furthermore, Mamic has seen to it that he can at any time demand to see the entire revenue documentation of any club in Croatia or abroad for which Eduardo da Silva could play, and in the event that the footballer refuses to do so, Mamic has the right to directly and forcibly levy a distress on any person who might have that documentation.In the contract it states that the contracted parties forego their right to quash the contract for whatever reason, specifically not with regard to the disproportion of the money invested and the expected earnings. In other words, Eduardo da Silva, who at the time was a poorly educated 16-year-old barely making ends meet, cannot claim now that at the time of the signing of the contract he was ill-informed, nor that Mamic's initial investment of 50,000 dollars is much less than what he is earning now.

What's more, da Silva is obliged to even more concessions. In the contract it states that, "Eduardo da Silva agrees and hereby states that in regard to any and all insurance or other claims that belong to Zdravko Mamic and Hélio Augusto Suzano on the basis of this contract, he pledges and transfers to them every real and obligatory right he has or will have, that he is liable to them with all of his movable and immovable property in the country and abroad, and rights he bears or will bear, and funds on accounts in any bank or other legal persons conducting payment transactions and agrees and allows them to seek from the same assets, rights, accounts, stocks and bonds a direct forced levee of distress." In the contract it is stated that Mamic can consume these rights until death and that he can transfer them to other natural persons or the Mamic Sport Agency, without the consent of Eduardo da Silva.

In the event that Mamic transfers his rights to another person, they would enjoy all of the rights arise from the contract but would have no obligations towards Eduardo da Silva, according to article 14 of the contract. Eduardo da Silva, Zdravko Mamic and Hélio Augusto Suzano all personally signed the controversial contract, after which they initialled each page. Their initials on each page of the contract indicates that it was signed and solemnised in a public notary's office, which gives it the power of writ of execution, in other words a final court ruling. Nacional has thoroughly checked the authenticity of the signatures of all contracted parties.

AN EASY LIFE FROM TRANSFER FEES Even after leaving Dinamo Eduardo was supposed to give Mamic 25 percent of his total earningsAN EASY LIFE FROM TRANSFER FEES Even after leaving Dinamo Eduardo was supposed to give Mamic 25 percent of his total earningsMamic's signature is identical to his signature on a power of attorney to his lawyer that recently arrived in Nacional's offices when he sought a retraction of statements made in a recent article published by Nacional, in which, among other things, it states that the State Attorney's Office wants to look into the validity of statements that he had brought some footballers into a situation where they were effectively his slaves. Hélio Augusto Suzano's signature is identical to the one he certified on 16 April 2007 at a public notary's office in Sesvete, when he stated that he was withdrawing his lawsuit filed before the County Court in Zagreb against Eduardo da Silva, whom he had sued for arrears owed to him on the basis of the contract of investment in question.

Eduardo da Silva's signature on the contract is identical to one on a contract presented to the courts in a different suit against him by Miljenko Radivojevic. Radivojevic is seeking 10 percent of his transfer to Arsenal for alleged services as personal advisor, and is basing his claims on a contract that the two of them allegedly signed. The signatures on both contracts are identical. In the proceedings brought by da Silva against Radivojevic, he claims however, that this is not his signature, but a forgery. Nacional discovered from persons close to the proceedings, however, that the court established that it was indeed his signature, but that Radivojevic had scanned it from another document, and was thereby deemed a forgery. The contents of that contract could explain why Mamic and da Silva got into an argument in January of 2008 and are no longer speaking to one another.This was a few months after da Silva signed a lucrative contract with Arsenal. It is possible that the argument broke out because da Silva only then realized that he would have to pay Mamic one quarter of his now substantial earnings for the rest of his career. The money Mamic is expected to receive is astronomic in comparison to the amount he invested into da Silva.

Mamic had by then already paid out Hélio Augusto Suzano, who had even prior to da Silva's transfer to Arsenal taken legal action against the player, seeking a portion of his earnings with Dinamo. On 23 February 2007 Hélio Augusto Suzano filed a suit against Eduardo da Silva before County Court in Zagreb, seeking 1.2 million kuna from the football player. He arrived at this number by calculating the total of 16,900 kuna per month from 25 March 2001 until the day the suit was filed. The 16,900 kuna represents 25 percent of 67,666 kuna, which is what Eduardo was allegedly earning in Dinamo. Jutarnji list daily columnist Tomislav Zidak wrote about Suzano's financial claims against Eduardo at the end of 2006.

In those columns he mentioned the existence of the disputed contract but did not provide any documentation as proof. On April 16th 2007, less than two months after he filed suit against Eduardo da Silva, his first manager Suzano abandoned the suit claiming that he had been paid out. How he had been paid out was explained later by Zdravko Mamic, on the Z1 television show Ciroskop, when he was called on the show by the show's host and well-known Croatian football coach Miroslav Blazevic, who asked him why he and da Silva were no longer on speaking terms. Mamic stated said that, "Three months prior to leaving for Arsenal Eduardo's Brazilian manger, who has the right to 25 percent of his earnings, calls me. To calm him down and to get him to withdraw his suit I give him 300 thousand euro, by doing so I save Eduardo 5 million euro, and we take on Suzano as an associate!"

It is possible that Mamic paid out Suzano only so that he could secure his interests in da Silva's future earnings, meaning that he would get 50 percent of all of Eduardo's salaries, transfer fees, bonuses and marketing deals. In the January 4th 2008 edition of the Vecernji list daily Mamic slammed da Silva saying, "I don't want to stoop to the level of this punk that I brought to Arsenal, freed him of the chains of his manager Suzano, and bought his mother a house in Brazil. He is sick and deformed."

During their conflict Eduardo da Silva told Jutarnji list on January 11th 2008, "No one is going play with me. I am not a commodity or a slave. Slavery was abolished a long time ago." Speaking on the same issue, Eduardo da Silva at the time also told Vecernji list that.

"While I was scoring goals and raising my own value, I was a good boy even for him. On my tax statements it said that I worked for Dinamo. I wasn't aware that I was working for Mamic's private company." As the conflict escalated, Mamic, under public pressure, began claiming that he was in fact the victim of Eduardo da Silva. In the middle of January 2008 he told Jutarnji list and the Internet portal, "I understand that the pubic, which is sensitive with regards to Eduardo because he is their idol, has a hard time understanding the disputations of an old donkey and his child. However, despite all of this, I do not believe that Eduardo ever made that statement, I believe that this was cooked up by his wife or his lawyer's office. In the end I came to understand this and sealed my lips... To this day I have never received anything from Eduardo, not a penny. Now try to think of how ugly it is to hear those words from him... I gave Eduardo an apartment in Svetice and paid for his wedding.

A TURNING POINT IN LIFE Suzano, Eduardo and Mamic pictured just after signing the disputed contract, at the beginning of Eduardo's careerA TURNING POINT IN LIFE Suzano, Eduardo and Mamic pictured just after signing the disputed contract, at the beginning of Eduardo's careerTo this day he has not returned the favour. The rights I had over his career I transferred to other people. I no longer have anything to do with that..." Eduardo da Silva never wanted to comment the nature of his relationship with Zdravko Mamic, nor what stands behind their argument. The discovery of this contract once again opens the issue of transparency with regard to the relationship between players and managers in Croatian football, an issue that is seldom discussed. These questions were never adequately looked into by the Croatian Football Association, the umbrella organization that covers all of Croatian football, nor the appropriate state institutions, who rarely tried to uncover where the money from the transfer of football players ended up and whether or not those who profited from the transfers reported those earnings. It is possible that these obscure relationships are in part to blame for why Croatian football clubs are falling ever further behind their foreign competition, both in quality and results. This of course results in fewer fans at the football games.

It is therefore no wonder that those footballers that continue their careers in rich and well organized clubs abroad do not want to talk about the less glamorous episodes of their careers in Croatia, where perhaps just like Eduardo da Silva, they were the forced victims of the private interests of various local magnates that are trying to use Croatian football for there personal financial gain, and subsequently their social affirmation.

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