If you’re wondering why it’s been taking Manchester United and José Mourinho to seal their inevitable marriage, you’re not alone. With all the big things like salary and years and the like already hammered out per reports, all that’s left are the small details. Only the small details in international soccer, and especially with a star manager like Mourinho, are quite bizarre.
The Independent has an update on the situation, which confirms that the most important facets of the contract have been agreed to. What remains are not what you’d expect:
Issues regarding Mourinho’s image rights remain and still need to be resolved before the appointment is confirmed, though there is little chance of such obstacles scuppering the deal.
However, negotiations may now also have to consider the bizarre fact that Chelsea, Mourinho’s former employers, own the rights to his name.
Sure enough, a simple search of the EU Intellectual Property Office’s site reveals that the phrase “Jose Mourinho” has been a registered trademark under the ownership of Chelsea Football Club Limited since 2006. The mark grants Chelsea the exclusive right to use “Jose Mourinho” in conjunction with all number of commercial goods or services, including but in no way limited to: lingerie, cologne, phone cards, duffel bags, nutcrackers, key rings, deodorants for body and feet, shampoos, magnets, etc.
Since this has been the case going back a decade now during Mourinho’s multiple different managerial stops along the way, it shouldn’t be an impediment to United and Mou coming to an agreement. There is, though, the real issue of the manager’s broader image rights—which presumably were included in his latest Chelsea contract—and some conflicts of interest between Mourinho’s sponsors and United’s.
For instance, Mourinho is a Hublot shill, while United rep Bulova. Mourinho is also a paid Jaguar man, while Chevy is United’s shirt sponsor. International soccer is so weird.