5 most bizarre clauses footballers have had in their contracts

Neymar Sign
Neymar Junior after signing a contract with the Catalan club (Image source: fcbarcelona.com)

Over the years, transfers have gone on to become more and more professional with proper clauses and other related specifications being jotted down at the concluding stage of each and every successful buy and sale in the world of football.

You surely must have heard of innumerable transfer clauses that were proposed and signed upon by a certain football club and/or an individual player in order to take care of their respective individual interests.

From Paul Pogba’s ‘infamous’ clause at Juventus which stated that PSG had to pay an additional £8 million on an already stipulated £55 million release clause to Cristiano Ronaldo’s £1 billion buy-out clause at Real Madrid, football has, undoubtedly, seen it all.

On that note, there have been a number of instances in world football where a club or a footballer had gone a tad too far with their clauses.

We now present to you a list of the five most bizarre football clauses that you could ever come across:

1) The ‘No Bite’ clause:

Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring a goal

Luis Suarez’s ‘No Bite’ clause is, perhaps, one of the most well-known clauses in the history of world football. Although, when you talk about Luis Suarez you would expect a clause on a related line but at the same time, in an era where people expect the footballers to carry themselves more graciously on the field, the inclusion of this kind of a clause is actually quite unfortunate.

When the 29-year-old Uruguay international had signed for Barcelona in 2014, he had already earned a ‘reputation’ for himself. Suarez had come off a fresh controversy while involved the striker biting Giorgio Chiellini during a Uruguay-Italy encounter at the 2014 FIFA World Cup that was held in Brazil.

The former Liverpool man had, previously, bitten Otman Bakkal during his stint at Ajax. Not only that, Suarez had also bitten Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic during his tenure with the Reds.

Therefore, it was not a surprise when Barcelona added a ‘No Bite’ Clause when they signed the 29-year-old centre-forward from the Anfield-based club.

2) The ‘No Fly’ clause:

Dennis Bergkamp during his Arsenal days

The Arsenal legend, Dennis Bergkamp had earned himself the nick-name of ‘The Non-Flying Dutchman’ due to his fear of traveling in an airplane.

The 46-year-old was a prolific attacker in his heydays and was an integral part of the 2003-04 ‘Invincible’ Arsenal squad, which had won the English Premier League without losing a single match; a record which still stands tall.

Dennis Bergkamp has scored over 200 goals in the 552 league matches that he has played for Ajax, Inter Milan, and Arsenal. He had also featured in 79 international matches for the Netherlands and has found the back of the net on 37 occasions.

The Dutchman was, however, so afraid of flying that while negotiating his contract with Arsenal, he made sure to add a clause which stated that the attacker wasn’t required to travel on the trips that needed the Gunners to use an airplane as a mode of transportation.

3) The ‘Visiting Friend’ clause:

An ecstatic Neymar celebrates a goal

The 24-year-old Brazilian international, Neymar Junior had completed his transfer from Santos to Barcelona, back in 2013. Although a couple of years down the line, the multi-million dollar move is still making a lot of headlines regarding it being a part of some tax fraud, the transfer had some of the most exquisite clauses added to it.

One of the clauses stated that the Brazilian striker will earn just below £2 million if he doesn’t altercate with the manager’s opinion regarding the former’s position on the field.

Neymar, who has stacked up 54 goals for the Catalan side in the 90 league matches that he has played for it, also had a clause added to his Barcelona contract that would make you go, “No way!”

The aforementioned clause allows the Brazilian’s friends to visit the Spanish city of Barcelona, every two months. And the best part is, the trips are all expenses paid.

4) The ’20 Minutes’ clause:

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after scoring against Bournemouth AFC

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hasn’t quite started a lot of matches for Arsenal since he signed for the Gunners from Southampton in 2011 and it seems that there is, in fact, a proper reason behind it.

The 22-year-old England international who has featured in 100 league games for Arsenal, had made 33 appearances for the Gunners back in the 2012-13 season out of which he was on the pitch for 20 minutes or less on 13 occasions.

This was because of the fact that one of the clauses of his Arsenal contract stated that the Emirates-based club had to pay Chamberlain’s former club, Southampton an additional £10,000 every time the 22-year-old England midfielder had stayed on the field for 20 minutes or more.

This clause explains the reason why Arsene Wenger introduced Chamberlain around the 71st-minute mark for the most of the 2012-13 season. Although, Wenger’s tactic didn’t help the North London club much in terms of finances as the Gunners had to eventually cough up over £200,000 in the form of additional payments to the Saints in the 2012-13 season alone.

5) The ‘Space Ban’ clause:

Stefan Schwarz (L) in action against Arsenal

Former Sweden international, Stefan Schwarz had signed for Sunderland back in 1999 in a deal which was worth just under £4 million. A Yuri Gagarin admirer, the then 30-year-old Swedish midfielder was touted to be an important acquisition for the Black Cats.

So much so, that the Swede, also nicknamed ‘The Spaceman’ had to give in to a clause which stated that Schwarz wasn’t allowed to go to space until the termination of his contract at the Stadium of Light.

More so, because Sunderland’s new acquisition was actually considering to sign up for one of the first commercial flights to space.

The then Sunderland chief executive, John Fickling had given an interview to the BBC where he said, “One of Schwarz's advisers has, indeed, got one of the places on the commercial flights.”

“And we were worried that he may wish to take Stefan along with him. So we thought we'd better get things tied up now rather than at the time of the flight.”

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Edited by Staff Editor