Friday, 29 July 2011

Mark Stewart and The Mysterious £100,000

Three weeks ago City ‘made’ a £100,000 bid for Romain Vincelot then of Dagenham and there have been questions asked as to where this has gone now it seems we need to shift players out before bringing any more in. However, as Falkirk and the SFA call in FIFA to try and sort out whether City owe them money as part of the Mark Stewart transfer, it seems that money may have been put aside in case City are found to owe The Bairns over Stewart . Falkirk and the SFA believe that City owe the Scottish club as Stewart was under the age of 23, while City – with the backing of the English FA - believe that no fee is required for Stewart.

Falkirk, who Stewart played for between the ages of 18 and 22, believe they have a case for compensation as City signed him before he turned 23. City, on the other hand, will argue that because they waited until the 1st of July to officially sign Stewart, that no compensation is owed.

This all hinges on when the ‘seasons end’ is. FIFA rules state that;

Training compensation is due when:
i) a player is registered for the first time as a professional;
or
ii)  a professional is transferred between clubs of two different
associations (whether during or at the end of his contract)
before the end of the season of his 23rd
birthday

Stewart turned 23 on June 22nd and it is this that is causing the dispute. If, as Falkirk suspect, the season ends after the final game, then Stewart turned 23 during the 2011/12 season and compensation would be due for any transfer until the end of the coming season. However, it is likely that City take the view that the season ends officially on June 30th, which would mean Stewart turned 23 in the 2010/11 season and explain why City waited until July 1st – the first day of the 2011/12 season – to sign him, thus eradicating the need for any compensation.

Falkirk’s local paper reports that the club are asking for £290,000 in compensation, at face value a wildly optimistic figure considering FIFA’s rules on transfers;

For players moving from one association to another inside the territory
of the EU/EEA, the amount of training compensation payable shall be
established based on the following:
a) If the player moves from a lower to a higher category club, the
calculation shall be based on the average training costs of the
two clubs;
b) If the player moves from a higher to a lower category, the
calculation shall be based on the training costs of the lower category club.

Considering it is likely City will be classed as a lower ranked club than Falkirk, the compensation – if due – will be based on average costs of training at City, which will be considerably lower than Falkirk who put a fair bit into youth development. If we compare Stewart to an established youth player of our own, such as Luke O’Brien, it is unlikely that any tribunal would award us much more than £50,000 based on previous rulings.

However, if FIFA side with Falkirk, City could be liable for fees of up to £300,000 - depending on club classification - according to their own rules. It is certainly a murky area and one which is not easy to second guess. 

From where I’m standing - and I'm no legal expert - it is likely that FIFA will enforce some sort of compensation, but a small token gesture, hopefully which City will have budgeted for once the story came about. These transfers are a grey area which need clearing up, but let’s hope City aren’t the club to get caught out big style by it.
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1 comment:

  1. I suspect you're correct in that it will hinge on the definition of 'end of season'. However, I also suspect it will be argued by Falkirk that the end of the SFA season is 31 May 2011. Therefore Stewart was signed by City in the season of his 23rd birthday, ie 2011/12 season, and compensation will be due using FIFA's formula

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