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Sockers Fine, Suspend Perez After Tryout in Europe

September 15, 1987|MARC APPLEMAN | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Bob Bell, Socker co-managing general partner, said Monday that he has fined midfielder Hugo Perez $4,500 and suspended him for two weeks, retroactive to Sept. 1.

Last Thursday, Bell said he planned to suspend Perez for the 1987-88 season because Perez tried out for Ajax Amsterdam, a European club team, in July without telling the Sockers. Bell said Perez was planning to join the renowned Dutch club after his contract with San Diego expires June 30, 1988.

On Monday afternoon, Bell met for 2 1/2 hours with Perez and Perez's agent, Mike Hoague.

"I thought it was a very productive meeting," Bell said. "I felt more confident about the situation. But I told Hugo what he did was wrong. I had to take some steps that it wouldn't happen again. Otherwise, half my players will go try out in Europe."

Bell said his concern that Perez--being a lame-duck player--might not put out maximum effort in the upcoming season was alleviated during the meeting.

Perez and Hoague said after the meeting that they will discuss the fine and suspension with the Major Indoor Soccer League Players' Assn. and will probably take the matter to arbitration.

"Hugo and I feel the club is not correct in their position," Hoague said.

Hoague reiterated Monday that Perez never signed a contract with Ajax Amsterdam, never discussed money with the club and that there is no guarantee Perez will be playing with them after his contract with the Sockers expires.

And Perez claims he told the Sockers he was going to Europe and that he had a right to train with Ajax Amsterdam (for six days) because he has a clause in his contract stating he can play in an offseason organized league or for the U.S. national team.

Bell said the clause in the contract does not allow him to "try out for a team that plays the same time we do," which is the case with Ajax Amsterdam.

If the case goes to arbitration, Perez said he might ask for free agency because his check of Aug. 31 was withheld. If he is granted free agency, Perez could join another MISL club or sign with a European team.

As far as Bell is concerned, the matter is closed.

"I will write him a letter fining him and suspending him retroactive to Sept. 1," Bell said. "He has the right to take it to arbitration."

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