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Sockers Expect to Suspend Hugo Perez Monday

September 11, 1987|MARC APPLEMAN | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Bob Bell, Socker co-managing general partner, said Thursday that he plans to suspend midfielder Hugo Perez for the 1987-88 season because Perez tried out for Ajax Amsterdam in July without telling the Sockers and then supposedly signed an agreement to join the renowned Dutch club after his contract with San Diego expires June 30, 1988.

Bell met with Perez Tuesday this week and is scheduled to meet with Perez's agent, Mike Hoague, on Monday in San Diego, at which time Perez will officially be suspended "unless they can come up with some kind of solution I can't think of," Bell said.

On the other side of the controversy, Perez has filed a grievance with the Major Indoor Soccer League Players Assn. because he didn't receive his last paycheck, which the Sockers were scheduled to pay Aug. 31.

Now for differing views from the two sides:

Perez, 23, who has a no-cut, no-trade contract, says he tried out with Ajax Amsterdam and was invited to join the Dutch club next year. However, he said he hasn't signed an agreement with the club and plans to fulfill his contract with the Sockers before joining the Dutch club next July.

Bell said Socker Coach Ron Newman, who is in England, contacted Ajax Amsterdam--now managed by former World Cup great Johan Cruyff--and was told that Perez had already signed with the club.

And Bell says he doesn't want a lame-duck player on his team.

"He'll do fancy footwork to avoid getting hurt so he can start his next career," Bell said. "He won't take our club's money, go try out for another team and then go through the motions. How can I look the other players in the face who are running through walls? Do you think he'll really be putting out maximum effort?"

Perez was the Sockers' second-leading goal scorer with 27 in 34 games last season after scoring 41 goals in 41 games the season before. But Perez has been as controversial as he is exciting, and he has had a number of confrontations with Newman since being acquired from Tampa Bay during the 1983 outdoor season.

"I'm very upset by the way Bob (Bell) has handled this," Perez said. "Tuesday, when I had a meeting with him, he made it clear Ron (Newman) and he don't want me here anymore. He said, 'You're not part of the team anymore.' I wanted to finish my contract here. Go in peace with them."

Hoague said Ajax Amsterdam has made no guarantee that Perez will receive a contract next season, and that Perez could still be in the MISL in two seasons.

"Suggesting that (Perez) would be a lame-duck player is demeaning to his character," Hoague said.

There also is the matter of Perez trying out with Ajax Amsterdam without notifying the Sockers. Perez, who has expressed his love for the outdoor game on numerous occasions, has a clause in his contract stating he can play in an off-season organized league or for the U.S. national team.

Two summers ago, Perez played in the Western Alliance league. This summer, he has competed for the U.S. national team, although Bell said Thursday that he doesn't want Perez to play with the U.S. national team this weekend because of the current controversy.

An off-season organized league or the U.S. national team are one thing, but Bell said the clause in Perez's contract does not allow him to "try out for a team that plays the same time we do." That is the case with Ajax Amsterdam.

"He told my secretary (Caroline Roberts) he was taking a vacation to Europe," Bell said. "He admitted to me Tuesday he never told anyone he was trying out."

That really upset Bell.

"We pay him $110,000," Bell said. "He can't go over on his own and try out for another club on my time and money."

Bell added that the terms of Perez's contract state that the Sockers remain responsible for Perez's salary even if an injury occurs.

In closing, Bell said: "I feel sorry for Hugo. He's screwing up his career. His agent is giving him bad advice."

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