Fifa ruling over transfer compensation provides lifeline for boys' clubs

Wallsend and Senrab have produced some of the biggest stars in the Premier League, and the decision has seen them receive substantial sums of money allowing them to continue doing so

Jack Pitt-Brooke
Tuesday 27 October 2015 22:43 GMT
Shearer was at Wallsend before becoming a Newcastle great
Shearer was at Wallsend before becoming a Newcastle great (Getty Images)

Two of the beacons of boys’ football in England meet on Wednesday, with something to celebrate in difficult times. It is not easy being a boys’ club in the modern game, with top academies, recruiting more aggressively than ever, fighting over boys as young as eight. It is not easy, even for clubs with the prestige, record and values of Wallsend and Senrab, each so important to the football fabric of their communities, in Newcastle and London respectively.

But these two clubs have found a lifeline – and they are playing at Whitley Park in Newcastle on Wednesday to highlight it. Both have recently received substantial sums of money they were due as part of Fifa’s solidarity mechanism, to compensate clubs who raised players who went on to become stars.

The regulation states that in cases of international transfers, five per cent of the transfer fee is shared between the clubs who trained the player between his or her 12th and 23rd birthdays. The money is shared proportionately based on time spent at each club, as recorded on a “player passport”. So a club that raises a player in his early teens, but loses him for little or nothing, can still earn money if he makes it big.

This is what has happened to Wallsend and Senrab. Fraser Forster, like many who have passed through Newcastle United – Alan Shearer, Michael Carrick, Peter Beardsley and the rest – started at Wallsend, which was 50 years old this month. But because he left England, transferring to Celtic before joining Southampton, those transfer fees trigger the solidarity payment.

The same is true of Jermain Defoe, an east London boy – like John Terry, Ashley Cole, Lee Bowyer, Ledley King and more – who started at Senrab. Defoe had played in England all his career until last year, when he left Spurs for Toronto. Having returned to Sunderland, he generated international transfer fees, meaning Senrab get paid.

The Fifa regulation is not widely known among grassroots clubs so we proposed the match to raise awareness of the solidarity issue

&#13; <p>John Devine, head of Muckle LLP</p>&#13;

The man who helped the clubs get the money was John Devine, the head of sport at law firm Muckle LLP. “Like many grassroots clubs, these two still depend on donations and other financial support just to keep going each year, so hopefully the solidarity contributions will help to make a real difference this season,” explained Devine, who hopes he can help more clubs in the same way.

“The Fifa regulation is not widely known among grassroots clubs so we proposed the match to raise awareness of the solidarity issue.”

Senrab club secretary, Tony Carroll, said: “We pride ourselves on developing youngsters but it’s tough running a club in London, especially with the expense of pitches.

“We’re training and playing at different venues, as most of Tower Hamlets’ facilities are run by private companies these days and are block-booked by companies from Canary Wharf paying more than we can afford. A lot of parents find it hard to find the money for subs.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in