The Bergkamp Rule
During the 90s it was easy to say that Holland were producing some of the best footballers of the generation. They were resourceful, skilful, tough and played very game as if it might be their last. One of the great names of this period was a striker from Amsterdam who helped pioneer the era and modernise football as we know it. Footballers from all over the continent were being paid big money to join clubs in the English league and Dennis Bergkamp was no different, but he came with a price. He wanted to play in the Premier league for a London based team who were prolific in Europe but he had a morbid fear of flying.
The clause in his contract was very clear: we pay you to play anywhere and, if you can’t fly, you will need to find another way to get there.
There are comparisons which can be made today in the travel industry. If your villa or accommodation is available but flights aren’t, what responsibility do you have and should you insist on cancelling?
It is clear that the convenience of flying directly to your destination is the most practical option but the reality is that travellers have made efforts to get to their desired locations using many different forms of travel in the past. Yes some are not the most luxurious but if they are safe, then should the burden fall on the home owners who have the accommodation ready and waiting for their guests? The villa is there and the owners are not offering packages holidays, so the logistics of travel should not be their responsibility.
As travel restrictions are slowly lifting and the idea of a European summer seems more and more likely, the reality is that the responsibility of travel should be on the guests. As a knee jerk reaction many owners offered credits or refunds as they morally felt obliged to help out their fellow citizens of the world but, was this in a mistake?
“Staycations” are being promoted in their home countries to help encourage and stimulate their own economy but the borders are opening and the villas are accessible.
So if a footballer has committed to a game for fear of loss of money, is there an argument that if you can get to a villa then it is the responsibility of the guests to arrive? Clearly these have been challenging times and difficult decisions have been forced up people but hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel even if the world we live in may be vastly different to the one we knew before.