Webster ruling opens exit door for 'big-name stars'

Andy Webster expects his landmark court case result will allow leading footballers nearing the end of long-term contracts to walk away from their clubs with barely any fuss.

Webster, now on loan at Rangers, left Hearts in 2006 to join Wigan Athletic, taking advantage of Article 17 in Fifa's player status and transfer regulations.

Article 17 enables termination after three years when a contract is due to end before the player's 28th birthday, and also allows older players to leave after two years, providing compensation is paid.

The rule was introduced in 2001 after a compromise deal with the European Commission, who had threatened to abolish the transfer system.

Last month, Webster learned he had succeeded in challenging Fifa's demand that he should pay Hearts £625,000 in compensation, and had the sum reduced to £150,000, the equivalent of his final year's salary at Tynecastle.

Hearts had been seeking around £4.5m at the Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing, claiming they should have been compensated for the cost of replacing Webster.

His case could see players around the world seeking to end their contracts early, on the basis that clubs may only need to pay up their final year of salary to secure deals.

The 25-year-old has been mentioned alongside Jean-Marc Bosman as a pioneer for players' freedom of movement, and said: "I didn't envisage this would happen.But when I went to Switzerland in October last year that's when I realised it was a big deal as both sets of legal teams were there and you could see what they were arguing over.

"It was not just about football, it was about the laws governing the game in general, so that is when I saw for myself the importance of the case and what a big thing it was.

"I now hear big-name stars talking about moving in a similar way," he added, "and it was me that was the guinea pig right at the start.

"It has taken 20 months for my situation to be concluded but for the next person it will probably take a couple of days."

Knee and ankle injuries have dogged Webster since he joined Rangers 13 months ago and he has only made one first-team appearance so far.

He is fit again now and has been playing for Rangers' reserves. Webster said: "Hopefully I can now get on with my football which is so important to me. That is what I am paid to do and what I enjoy."

Elsewhere, Javier Clemente said he was surprised and disappointed by the Iranian Football Federation's decision to back out of an offer to appoint him as national team coach because of his refusal to live in the country.

"For me it was a disagreeable surprise because I had gone to a lot of trouble and was really looking forward to giving them a helping hand especially after the reception they gave me when I went there," the former Spain and Serbia coach said.

"I could have done a good job but if they are incapable of respecting an agreement from the start then it is better not to have gone. They've wasted my time and in the end I got bored. I'm not going to coach Iran now."

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence