Sacked former Chelsea striker Adrian Mutu is on the verge of bankruptcy and retirement from football after the well-documented verdict of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The disgraced darling of Romanian football, currently plying his trade at Serie A club Fiorentina, has been ordered to pay $23.7 million (£14.7 million) to the West London club for breach of contract after testing positive for cocaine use in 2004.
The whole case, from Chelsea’s original decision to sack the player to the recent verdict, is scornful.
Yes, Adrian Mutu was in breach of his contract and broke the law at the same time, but the compensation bill may ruin this highly-talented man’s life.
The prolific-striker did live a chequered lifestyle prior to the positive drugs test. In the twelve month period leading up to it, his marriage came to an acrimonious end and he lost the subsequent custody battle for his son.
He was later involved in a sex scandal with a Romanian porn star and then became embroiled in a car chase with police that resulted in a driving ban.
In a revealing interview with Sky, Mutu cited his fame and naivety for falling into the trap of cocaine abuse while living in the bright city lights of London.
The incidents that occurred in that same year would also bear a hugely demoralising affect on any person – let alone an incredibly famous footballer in his mid-twenties.
I don’t condone his actions, but I don’t condone those of his employer either.
It is unknown to the public whether Chelsea Football Club offered Mutu any source of rehabilitation prior to his sacking. It is also yet to be established if the player responded to the test results in a manner that would suggest he would take up such an offer.
But, for a club owned by a multi-billionaire to vindictively pursue a man that has since turned his life around and to announce the result as ‘a very significant result for football’ is most despicable.
The Serie A hitman has scored 47 goals in 77 appearances for Fiorentina, following a stint at a scandal-hit Juventus, and has proved a model professional since arriving at the Viola in 2006.
Chelsea are basing their claim on the amount they believe the club would have received if they were able to sell the player. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has backed this up, stating that the $23.7 million (£14.7 million) relates to the full residual value of his transfer fee.
Had the club not sacked the striker, despite his subsequent seven month ban from football, they would have been able to sell a player of his undoubted quality on, in a move that would have averted this five-year-long battle.
Having seen two appeals already knocked back by the CAS, Adrian Mutu will now have to ask the question again and make a further appeal against the decision at a higher court.
I just hope that the full and final outcome of this reprehensible saga is a just one.