Sport’s craziest contract clauses

Glen Davis had to meet certain weight requirements while at the NBA’s Boston Celtics.
Glen Davis had to meet certain weight requirements while at the NBA’s Boston Celtics.

NO, you cannot go to space. Yes, we will pay for your moustache wax.

Sport has thrown up some weird and wonderful contract clauses and incentives over the years, with baseball and football leading the way.

Here are the strangest of the strange, ranked from least strange to most strange.

Enjoy…

14. INTERPRETERS FOR EVERYONE


IT’S pretty standard for ballclubs to provide a translator for players, but Hiroki Kuroda received interpreters for his entire family while he was at the Los Angeles Dodgers.

13. YOU WILL NOT SKI


STIG Inge Bjornebye made a big mistake when he joined Liverpool in 1992: he revealed he was a keen ski jumper (his father Jo Inge was an Olympic ski jumper for Norway). The Reds would have none of it, banning him from going 200 metres of a ski slope.

12. IF THERE’S A WAR, I’M OUT


WHEN German manager Bernd Stange took over the Iraq national team in 2002 he ensured he would not have to answer any political questions and that he would be able to walk out if war broke out. Bit of trivia: Stange also coached Perth Glory in the old NSL.

11. DO NOT GET FAT

BELIEVE it or not, sport has a history of weight clauses in contracts. The most recent featured Glen “Big Baby” Davis at the Boston Celtics who would be given an extra $500,000 if he met certain weight requirements on the scales through various points in the season.

10. I AM THE OWNER AND I CAN PICK THE TEAM


IN the mid-1990s meddling Wimbledon owner Sam Hammam inserted a clause in manager Bobby Gould’s contract that Hammam could change the football team’s starting lineup up to 45 minutes before kick-off in any game. Gould insists he never did.

9. WE’LL GIVE YOU AN INCENTIVE, BUT WON’T LET YOU ACHIEVE IT


CINCINNATI Bengals quarterback Akili Smith was on a modest – by NFL standards – base salary of $275,000 in 2000. But if he threw for 1,600 yards it would jump to $4 million. Smith got to 1,253 before he was benched in game 11 for journeyman Scott Mitchell. Cue speculation the team was looking to save some cash. “Everybody knows what is going on,” teammate Damon Griffin said at the time.

8. YOU MUST EAT SHEEP TESTICLES

SAM Hammam (yep, the same bloke as mentioned above) inserted a clause in defender Spencer Prior’s contract in 2001 that he would have to eat sheep’s testicles before he was able to play at Cardiff City. Legend has it that Prior did what he had to do – apparently they were cooked and seasoned with salt, parsley and lemon juice. So that makes it OK.

7. BUILD ME A HOUSE… EVERY YEAR


IN 1996, striker Giuseppe Reina demanded German football club Arminia Bielefeld build him a house for every year of his contract. Unfortunately for Reina, there was nothing in the clause specifying the size of the home.

6. I’LL HAVE EIGHT 1400KM LIMO RIDES


PITCHER AJ Burnett, while at the Toronto Blue Jays in 2005, was allowed to have a limo bring his family from their home in Monkton, Maryland to Toronto and back eight times a year. The trip is about eight hours and 700km – EACH WAY.

5. THIRTY-SEVEN BOXES OF JELL-O, PLEASE


CHARLIE Kerfeld really liked the number 37. It was his uniform number, of course. And when he learned that Jim Deshaies had signed for $110,000 in 1987, he asked for – and received -$110,037.37 plus 37 boxes of orange Jell-O from the Houston Astros.

4. BUY ME A BULLDOZER


WHEN the Houston Astros made baseball’s 2005 National League Championship Series, team owner Drayton McClane wanted to give pitcher Roy Oswalt added incentive for his start. If he won, he would get a bulldozer – something Oswalt had wanted for a long time. And win he did.

3. GIVE MY WIFE COOKING CLASSES


CONGOLESE footballer Rolf-Christel Guié-Mien would only sign for Eintracht Frankfurt in 1999 if the German club put it in the contract that it would arrange for his wife to take cooking classes. From all reports, she took it well.

2. YOU MUST HAVE A MOUSTACHE


IN the 1990s, when moustaches ruled the world, Rollie Fingers (yes, that’s his name) of the Oakland A’s was offered $300 just for having one and a $100 bonus for moustache wax. When you see his masterpiece (pictured above) you actually understand why.

1. NO SPACE TRAVEL FOR YOU


Sunderland’s Stefan Schwarz, upon moving to Wearside in 1999, was asked what he’d like to do in the next few years if his dreams came true. The Swedish midfielder said he wanted a seat on the first commercial passenger flight into space. The Black Cats promptly added a no-going-into-space clause. You can’t have fun anymore.

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