Football:League to replace transfers by 2000

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The Independent Online
The Football League yesterday appealed for a unified plan of action to help replace Britain's existing transfer system.

The League is seeking a collective agreement between itself, the Premier League and the Professional Footballers' Association in a bid to introduce much-needed changes in the wake of the Bosman ruling.

A special working party from the League has made a number of recommendations to form the basis of an agreement which they want to see in operation from July 2000. The timescale has been suggested to make sure lower league clubs, who must rely on transfer fees to keep afloat, have enough time to take the changes into account. The Football League chairman, David Sheepshanks, said: "This transitionary three-year period will be a major lifeline to a number of smaller clubs."

The Football League working party recommendations are:

1) Notice of the demise of the current transfer system is needed. The new provisions should come into place from 1 July 2000. From then, players will be free to move at the end of their contract (subject to No 3).

2) A five-year training and development scholarship/apprenticeship should be developed to run from age 16 to 21 with the following provisions:

a) Performance break clauses at two, three and four years with compensation payable to the player if he is released.

b) Players able to join the scholarship/apprenticeship du- ring the five-year period providing any player is given two years before a performance break clause is introduced.

c) Scholarship/apprenticeship would not be compulsory.

3) Existing re-engagement rules to continue to apply for players moving at the end of their contracts up to age 24, and compensation would be payable in respect of training and development, to be assessed by tribunal if clubs unable to agree.

4) A working party set up to develop a central development fund to provide for compensation for the continued development of players beyond age 24. Payments from this fund would be assessed at the end of a season or a given period and would in no way interfere with individual player movement.

5) A working party set up to review current standard players' contracts along with the regulations affecting players to accommodate the changes.

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