Ten of the most bizarre contract clauses in football history


When a player signs a new contract, you’d think they only really care about how much they’re getting paid.

However, a contract is far more than just the salary and the length of the deal. Inserted into the contract will be all sorts of terms and conditions.

From bonuses to image rights and everything in between – a contract features all kinds of agreements.

While most of it is fairly standard there have been examples of some rather bizarre contract clauses down the years to keep players – and the club – satisfied.

So, we’ve decided to take a look at the 10 most bizarre contract clauses we’ve ever seen in football.

Stefan Schwarz – Space clause

When Schwarz signed for Sunderland from Valencia in 1999, he was considering signing up for one of the first commercial flights to space.

So, Sunderland decided to insert a ‘space clause’ into his contract meaning it would be cancelled if he went into space.

Sunderland’s chief executive, John Fickling, told the BBC at the time: “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.”


Dennis Bergkamp – No-fly clause

From a player who wanted to take to the skies to a player who really didn’t. Bergkamp made sure he wasn’t required to travel on trips where the club needed to take a flight, meaning he missed many European away matches.


Georg Koch – Racism clause

Sadly, German goalkeeper Koch feared he would be racially abused about his nationality after moving to PSV. It took just three months before he returned to Germany.


Ronaldinho – Two nights out clause

When Ronaldinho went back to Brazil in 2011 to sign for Flamengo, he just wanted to have a bit of fun. Therefore, he ensured the club included a clause where he was allowed two nights out a week. Legend.


Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 20-minute appearance clause

Arsenal had to pay Southampton a £10,000 appearance fee whenever Oxlade-Chamberlain played 20 minutes or more. We wonder how many times he was brought on in the 71st minute.


Neil Ruddock – Weight clause

Ruddock has never been particularly slim but when he joined Crystal Palace towards the end of his career, chairman Simon Jordan revealed how they attempted to help him keep in shape.

“I decided to put a 10 per cent penalty on the contract we were proposing to offer him if he was over the recommended weight of 99.8kg, which by the way was still frigging huge,” Jordan revealed.

Ruddock was fined eight times in less than six months.


Roberto Firmino – Anti-Arsenal clause

Remember when Arsenal bid £40million + £1 for Luis Suarez in 2013? Well, Liverpool still remember it because when they signed Firmino from Hoffenheim in 2015, included a €98million release clause “if the interested club is not Arsenal”.


Giuseppe Reina – House clause

The German striker demanded his club, Arminia Bielefeld, built him a house for every year of his contract.

However, he didn’t give any dimensions and the club built him a house of LEGO for the three years of his contract. Brilliant.


Stig Inge Bjornebye – No ski clause

The Norwegian was a keen ski jumper in his youth – a sport in which his father competed at the Olympics. But Liverpool weren’t having any of it and wouldn’t allow him within 200 yards of a ski slope. 


Rolf-Christel Guie-Mien – Wife cooking lessons clause

When the Congolese midfielder joined Eintracht Frankfurt, he only agreed to sign a contract if his wife was given cooking lessons. Bet that went down well…

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