In 2012, Benfica signed Victor Nilsson Lindelöf from a small Swedish club, Vasteras, for a nominal fee – understood to be around €60,000 – with numerous add-on clauses.
Now, the criteria for one of those add-ons has been met, but Benfica has declined to pay an additional €250,000 after Lindelöf made ten first-team starts in the Primeira Liga and Champions League. He made his 10th appearance in April.
Benfica‘s argument for the non-payment of the money is that the agreement expired when Lindelöf signed an updated contract in 2015, after breaking into the first team. Vasteras don’t agree and are willing to go to court if the issue is not resolved by Fifa.
Vasteras’ vice-president, Christina Liffner, said that they had received support from the Swedish FA but added, “I’m afraid it could take one or two years for a decision to be made. That’s very bad for us because we are a small club and we need this money.”
250k is a small amount for the 26th richest club in the world. Perhaps the reason the Portuguese giants are not interested in paying what they rightfully owe Vasteras is because if Benfica pays the 250k, it automatically says that the first contract is valid, which means that they must pay a percentage of the fee when they sell him. Considering his release clause is 30m, and his stock has been rising for a while, Benfica would have to give VSK a substantial amount due to that sell-on clause.
This case needs to go the whole way, so that legal precedence can be established for further cases like this. At the moment, most clubs believe that sell-on clauses or other such clauses are valid for the entire time the player is at the club he was sold to. If the transfer clauses are only valid for the duration of the player’s first contract with his new club, the position held by Benfica is in fact, the correct interpretation. It needs to be clarified by Fifa/Cas, so it can be taken into account in all future transfer negotiations.
Apart from being a legal problem, this will also be seen as an ethical and moral issue. Considering how events have transpired in the world, there is perhaps no better time to understand just why supremacist attitude needs to be questioned and checked. For a small club, this money matters more than for one of the football giants. The money would clear Vasteras’ debts, which currently make it impossible for them to be promoted.