Written by Daniel Taylor Produced by Tifo Studios

According to rumour, a former international footballer had a clause put in his contract banning him for travelling into space

“It’s true,” Stefan Schwarz tells The Athletic, recalling the negotiations that took him to Sunderland from Valencia in 1999. “I would have loved to go into space. It was my agent’s idea. When we were discussing the contract, Moonraker, the James Bond movie, was on television. It was a film I liked. My agent said, ‘let’s get this contract done and we’ll go.’ But then Sunderland got to hear about it and they were not so keen.”

“Around the Millennium it was widely thought we were all going to be flying halfway to the bloody moon within two or three years. Stefan was very much into the idea. We had paid a lot of money for him and then it came out that his agent had already booked, or was going to book, one of the first flights into space. So we thought we’d better do something about it.”

As unusual clauses go, it compares with the no-biting stipulation that Barcelona inserted into Luis Suarez’s contract. Or Ronaldinho’s request for a clause allowing him two nights out a week when he joined Flamengo. Or the strange story of Mario Balotelli having a “good conduct” clause at Liverpool that entitled him to a £1 million bonus if he avoided getting three red cards in one season.

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