Rooney could quit United for only £5m

Fifa loophole allows striker to terminate his own contract next summer at reduced price

Wayne Rooney can terminate his contract next summer under Fifa transfer regulations that would see Manchester United receive only £5m in return, The Independent can reveal.

Under the Webster ruling – named after the former Hearts player Andy Webster, who set the precedent – Rooney can buy out the final year of his contract for his current annual salary of £5m plus a relatively small compensation figure.

As dictated by Article 17 of Fifa's transfer rules, it would dramatically reduce his current market value, which is closer to £45m.

The Spain based law firm Ruiz Huerta y Crespo has been involved in every major Article 17 case to date and are the world's leading authority on the subject. The firm is not involved in the Rooney case but has confirmed to The Independent Rooney could leave United under Article 17 as long as he met compensation requirements applicable to him.

Rooney last entered into a new United contract in November 2006, when he agreed an extension to his existing deal to keep him at the club until the summer of 2012.

Under the ruling a player can walk away from his contract after what Fifa describes in its rules as the "protected period" of that deal has expired. The protected period varies according to a player's age. If a player is under the age of 28 when signing the deal in question – as Rooney was – the protected period is three years of the contract.

Rooney was 21 in November 2006 when he signed his latest deal, meaning that the protected period on his contract ran out in November 2009. In the summer of this year he had the option to walk away in exchange for two years' salary. He could do the same next summer for one year's salary. The Webster ruling can only be activated in the summer and only after the provision of 15 days' notice in writing.

If United sell Rooney in January, the club would still be able to realise something close to his full value.

United's star player has already rejected an offer of a new contract on around £150,000 a week and holds the whip hand over a club who cannot afford to let him leave for free when his current deal expires in June 2012.

At a press conference for the club's charity partner Unicef yesterday, the United chief executive, David Gill, refused to take questions on the subject of Rooney's departure. "We will say something at an appropriate time and now is not an appropriate time," Gill said. "I have nothing more to say." Privately, even senior figures at the club accept that Rooney is unlikely to sign a new deal.

The 24-year-old's key frustration with United is their failure to give him a deal that offers him parity with the highest-paid players in the Premier League, such as Manchester City's Yaya Touré, whose wages will rise to £221,000 a week in April. He is also concerned that the financial restrictions placed on the club by the Glazer family's debt is preventing United from replacing their golden generation of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.

Yesterday the Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said reporters would have to ask owner Roman Abramovich "directly" if they wanted to know whether his club were in the market for Rooney. Real Madrid's sporting director, Jorge Valdano, said that his club did not have room among all their strikers and coach Jose Mourinho said he believed the player would not leave United.

The nightmare scenario for United is that Rooney goes to their neighbours City who, under the ownership of the Abu Dhabi prince Sheikh Mansour, are well capable of making him the highest-paid player in the Premier League. Even worse for United would be to lose their greatest asset for significantly less than his market value. The complicating issue in Article 17 moves is the precise calculation of the compensation. The first player to invoke Article 17 was the Scotland defender Webster, who left Hearts for Wigan in 2006 after falling out with the Edinburgh club's chairman.

A legal battle ensued, first with Fifa and then in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), where a ruling set the precedent that a player could break a contract. The ruling effectively set the amount of compensation to be paid as equal to the total amount of wages left on the player's contract when he walked out, plus a proportion of his original transfer fee, if still applicable.

Cases since then have led to modifications in the law, notably the Brazilian player Matuzalem, who unilaterally breached his contract with Shakhtar Donetsk in 2007 to move to Real Zaragoza in Spain.

The CAS ruled in the Matuzalem case that the compensation figure should be calculated not just on owed wages, but that figure plus or minus a variable amount, depending on release clauses and potentially a player's special value to, or burden upon, a club.

News
people

Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
News
peopleLynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance moves audience to tears
Arts and Entertainment
'Right Here' singer Jess Glynne is nominated for Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards 2014
musicExclusive: Jess Glynne hits out at 'ridiculous' criticism of white artists nominated for Mobo Awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Separated at birth? Frank Sivero (left) claims The Simpsons based Mafia character Louie on his Goodfellas character
arts + entsFrank Sivero sues Simpsons studio over allegedly basing mobster character on Frank Carbone
News
Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right) with former 'Washington Post' executive editor Ben Bradlee
people

The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon

News
news

Voices
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
voices

Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

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

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London