German FA refuses to back down over Ballack

Click to follow
The Independent Football

The German football federation is determined not to back down in its dispute with Chelsea over Michael Ballack and yesterday it emerged that it has a fax from the club that it claims proves the Premier League side were in the wrong. The saga relates to Chelsea's failure, according to the Germans, to permit the player to take part in a film-shoot this week.

The dispute began over the weekend and has created a storm in Germany where many influential figures in the German federation (DFB) are incensed at the treatment of their national captain. Ballack, 30, was left out of Chelsea's Champions League squad last week and the latest conflict has added insult to injury for a player who is said to be deeply unhappy with his treatment by the club.

When the player visited Germany on Thursday to meet the surgeon who operated on his left ankle in April, the DFB asked whether Ballack could stay in Cologne on Monday – and miss training at Chelsea – to take part in an adidas commercial. The DFB and its sponsors, adidas, claim they made numerous requests for permission for the player to stay after Chelsea initially turned down their first plea.

While the details may seem trivial, the consequences for Ballack are not. Having been cut from the Champions League squad because no date can be put on his return from injury, he spent the weekend in Germany waiting for a reply from Chelsea to the request for him to stay. When they did not respond he returned disillusioned to London on Sunday evening having heard nothing.

On Monday, Chelsea claimed that Ballack always had permission to stay – and that they had only been contacted on 31 August by the DFB, who argued that it had no contact from Chelsea all week other than a fax on 5 September from Peter Kenyon's secretary explaining that Ballack would not be available on Monday and should return to training. That fax is now understood to be in circulation in Germany and is regarded by the DFB as the trump card.

As well as having received complaints from the likes of former German international Oliver Bierhoff, now the general manager of the German national team, and senior executives at adidas, with whom Chelsea have an eight-year, £100m kit deal, the club also have a serious problem with Ballack. He is slowly losing faith that his club still want him as a player.