Berg and Panathinaikos saga to go to FIFA
The Marcus Berg-Panathinaikos saga took a major and unsavoury turn on Wednesday as the Greens launched an appeal to FIFA for in response to an audacious move by the striker to appeal also to world football’s governing body to have his contract terminated.
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The 30-year-old talismanic striker, who was the team’s top scorer with 24 goals last season, has reportedly appealed to FIFA to have his contract ripped up, but also to receive the full compensation of his current deal with the Trifilli which runs until 2019.
According to reports in the Greek media the Swede, who has agreed a lucrative deal worth around 9 million euros over 3 years with United Arab Emirates club Al Ain, is basing his claim to FIFA on the fact that Panathinaikos were late in some payments to the player - something which would give him the right to discuss terms with another club if he wished.
Panathinaikos were left stunned by this latest development and immediately responded, issuing an official counter appeal to FIFA based on two levels. Firstly, the Greens are claiming that they were on time with their payments, with the latest payment for May not due until June 30, and secondly the fact that Berg acted illegally in talking to another club without their permission while under contract.
The Greens are determined not to take this lying down and they will seek the maximum compensation for losing such an important player as they prepare for next season.
The case will now be heard by FIFA but a timeline for such a development is not yet known.
Legal proceedings with FIFA are rarely a quick affair, and it remains to be seen when a judgement on the case could be made, although both sides will be hoping it will come before the start of the new season.
One thing is certain. Berg will never pull on a Panathinaikos shirt again with both parties now at odds with each other in what has become a very ugly affair.
Contrast that with the elation and positivity shown from both sides, especially Berg, when he signed his new contract renewal with PAO just five months ago in January. Back then the Swede said: “I am very happy and satisfied with the new deal; everybody at the club loved me from day one and the fans are fantastic. The atmosphere at Panathinaikos is amazing and there is great potential. For all these reasons, I decided to stay here. You must know that I can see a... green future.”
That love has turned to hate with angry PAO fans filling social media with messages and posts describing the Swede as a traitor and money grabber, posting also to his personal and his wife’s Instagram accounts.
Panathinaikos had shown a low key tone initially, releasing a statement on Tuesday about Al Ain’s interest in Berg stating that they would not put up any barriers to Berg’s move as long as the club’s financial demands are fulfilled.
Panathinaikos own 55% of Berg’s player rights and had inserted a 10 million euro buyout clause in his contract, while Al Ain had only made a measly offer of between 2-3 million euros for Berg according to reports.