Date: 8th September 2009 at 8:35am
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They don’t like it up ’em? Rennes have followed Lens example over Chelsea in reporting City to FIFA over the alledged ‘inducing’ of one of their young players…

I nearly choked on my croissant this morning. Hold the back page, etc. Time to get one thing straight. I’ve personally watched shedloads of interviews and read countless articles in France these past few years and regardless of Canal Plus’ ongoing love affair with the Premier League, it’s clear there is a deep rooted jealousy in the French footballing hierarchy of English football’s powerful success story.

I can’t speak for further afield, but Manchester City’s newfound wealth has really upped the anti. Conspiracy theorist’s could make much of UEFA President Michel Platini’s influence having slated the likes of Chelsea and now City from the off but facts are facts and right now City are directly in the firing line.

The case in question surrounds one Jeremy Helan. A much coveted French teenage defender who alledgedly pulled out of his contract with Rennes in order to join The Blues.

The rags had been pursuing him for a while but could not get the north western French club to budge. In went City’s scouts. Rennes were furious and said the kid had a pre-contract agreement tying him to a contract with them should he represent France at youth level and he has done so.

Pierre Dreossi, Rennes Technical Director sees it like this:

‘Manchester City must now realise the consequences of their attitude in the Helan case, as it is even more illegal than Kakuta. We have referred this to FIFA. For us, it was strange to have no discussion from City and now, in the week after the FIFA declaration on Chelsea, I would hope that it will be the same thing for Manchester City.

‘Kakuta signed up for just a possibility of a full contract. For Helan, there was definitely one there, under the terms of the pre-contract agreement, because he had played for his country. Manchester United said it was not possible to negotiate with us but for City now this is dangerous, though we are not expecting a decision from FIFA for perhaps several years.’

I wouldn’t bank on it. FIFA and certainly UEFA have rapidly shifted obstacles before and Sepp Blatter sings from the same song sheet as Platini.

It doesn’t matter which strata of wealth you sit upon at your Premier League club today. It’s time to rattle through those documents and make sure your house is in order for any deals with French Ligue 1 clubs. Ligue 1 has become something of a feeder league for the English top flight and a lot of the club’s presidents do not like that fact and now there is a means to go after it.

All eyes on Eastlands for a statement, but for now I can’t get the image out of my mind of a cheering Michel Platini twirling his suit jacket over his head as he runs up and down the corridors of power at UEFA’s own headquarters this morning.


Vital Manchester City was the fastest growing Independent City Website last season and has a membership now standing at 1700 strong. There’s more to come – Be Here Now and join the debates in the VMC Forums as City prepare for showdown’s with Arsenal and the rags.