Premier League ruling leaves Everton short changed

For a team like Everton investment in their youth policy is probably their most viable route to success. They clearly do not have the financial muscle to compete with some of their Premier League rivals. It may seem surprising therefore that Everton have allowed England under 21 international Dan Gosling to leave the club on a free transfer. Upon arrival from Plymouth in 2008, Everton were keen to sign the midfielder on a 5 year deal. However Premier League rule K11prevents players under the age of 18 from signing contracts lasting more than 3 years. Everton therefore struck a verbal agreement with Gosling that the contract would be extended for a further 2 years on improved terms after the 3 year period had expired. Upon expiration, Everton failed to put a written offer to Gosling by the Premier League prescribed May deadline. Reports in the Daily Mail suggest that Everton believed their verbal offer of a pay packet worth £15,000 a week over the next two years had been accepted by Gosling. However a Premier League tribunal has ruled that Everton’s failure to put their offer to Gosling in writing means that Gosling becomes a free agent. A statement from the Premier League read: “An independent hearing, convened under Premier League rules, was held last week to look into the contractual status of Dan Gosling…having looking into the matter, and considered the arguments of both Everton and the player, it was determined that the player is unattached and entitled to a free transfer.” Everton deny being guilty of an administrative error but will now miss out on compensation for the player which may have likely been as much as £4m. Incredibly Everton have claimed a similar ‘gentleman’s’ agreement existed between the club and Wayne Rooney. Meanwhile cash-strapped Cardiff seem to have overlooked the position of one of their most valuable assets. Cardiff have allowed Joe Ledley’s contract with them to them expire in the knowledge that a move to another English club would see them due around £3m in compensation in recognition of the role they played in his development. Premier League rule M17 provides that a compensation fee is payable to a Transferor Club upon registering an out of contract player by a Transferee club who is under 24. Unfortunately for Cardiff, Joe Ledley appears set to join Celtic. Rules dictated by international governing body FIFA mean that an out of contract player is able to complete a cross-boarder transfer without any fee becoming payable. Players have plenty of incentive to run contracts to expiration. When available on free transfer’s money that would have been due to a club as compensation could potentially be paid to the player in wages or as a signing-on bonus. Gosling and Ledley are now in a position to negotiate financially stronger contracts than they would likely have been offered by prolonging their employment with their current teams.

Published July 9, 2010

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