The Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez has been sentenced to 250 hours of community service and a six-month driving ban after pleading guilty at Macclesfield magistrates court to driving while disqualified and without insurance.
The club are relaxed about the sentencing, believing it will have no bearing on the striker's long-term future, with Tevez's contract due to expire in the summer of 2014. The 29-year-old, who trained with the squad as usual on Wednesday afternoon, is yet to decide what he will do, with one option open to City being to offer Tevez a one-year extension to protect his value and guard against him leaving for free when the current deal expires.
However, if City were to receive a tempting offer for Tevez during the summer he may be unable to join the buying club because of the sentence unless he successfully applied to the court to change its terms, a route which is open to him. Under the current terms he has 12 months to complete the service.
As the maximum community service a person can do is 35 hours per week those with a more conventional working life could work off 250 hours in around seven weeks. For a professional footballer, though, this would be close to impossible even during the close season due to the demands of pre-season training and tours.
Tevez admitted driving while disqualified and without insurance after being stopped when leaving Mottram Hall Golf Club in a Porsche Cayenne on the afternoon of 7 March following an anonymous tip-off to police.
After sentencing, Elizabeth Depares, the chairwoman of the bench, told him: "Mr Tevez you must realise you are a role model for thousands, if not millions, of fans. Nobody is above the law and you should not have been driving. We have heard that you are sorry. And it is now up to you to ensure you will not be brought back to court again. The aggravating factors we found is that you had no driving licence and no insurance to protect other road users. We also thought that this was intentional."
Tevez, who earns £196,000 a week, was also ordered to pay fines and costs to a total of £1,145.
According to the probation officer,Mr Boliver, who interviewed Tevez before sentencing, the striker stated he "would welcome the opportunity to put something back into the community … He was very clear when I was talking to him that this was a very salutary lesson, the seriousness of this type of offence has come home to him and the likelihood of this happening again is highly unlikely."
Gwyn Lewis, Tevez's solicitor, told the court: "I'm glad to hear that because it means that Mr Tevez has a full understanding of the seriousness of the offence and I echo the fact that he is hugely unlikely he'll be before the court again. The whole experience from being arrested to being in the police station is all completely alien to him and very frightening."
After hearing argument from Lewis, known at City as "Merlin the Magician" for his abilities in court, the three-judge panel retired to consider what action Tevez should face.
There were two strands to Lewis's defence of Tevez. First, that having been given a six-month ban in January which was backdated to a previous offence for speeding in Morecambe in November his client had already served a large portion of his disqualification when he was caught driving.
Lewis also argued that Tevez's previous offences were for failing to complete documentation when other people had been driving cars registered to him, rather than him actually being behind the wheel.
The court heard that Tevez, who wore a cream V-neck sweater and was asked to stand throughout in the glass-windowed dock, had been caught after a tip-off to police.
Kate Marchuk, for the prosecution, said: "There had been a call from an anonymous caller that the defendant had driven a white Range Rover to Mottram Hall Golf Club while disqualified. The police officer confirmed this on the computer, Mr Tevez having been disqualified. There was a white Range Rover on the car park but Mr Tevez did not get into the car.
"There was, however, a white Porsche Cayenne parked at the car park and a check on the police national computer showed it to be registered to the defendant. Just after five that afternoon Mr Tevez went to that vehicle, got into the driver's seat and drove off.
"The officer stopped him and Mr Tevez was arrested and cautioned for driving while disqualified and for having no insurance. His reply was: 'I only live down the road, two minutes.'"