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Legal position explained on ending contracts

A leading sports lawyer says out-of-contract players in England can ignore FIFA proposals and leave their clubs at the end of June, even if the season has not resumed.

Earlier this week, FIFA proposed that contracts are “extended until such time that the season does actually end”, and asked for the same principle to be applied to contracts due to begin when the new season starts.

But one legal firm says their recommendations cannot be enforced under English employment law.

“Legally, they cannot be forced to continue to play for the club,” De Marco, of Blackstone Chambers, told Sky Sports News.

“What you’re most likely to see as a preferred option is probably very short-term extensions of contracts based on existing salary terms. That won’t suit everyone, and it can’t be forced on anyone in England.

“For example, if you’re a player coming towards the end of your contract and, perhaps, the end of your career, maybe you only have one more contract left, you may be very reluctant to sign a contract for only a few weeks or an indeterminate period of time.

“If you’re a lower league club, financially stressed, you won’t be wanting to pay players beyond June 30. So, a one-size-fits-all solution isn’t going to work. It’s going to depend on each case. The key is going to be agreement

ClaretandHugh says: The legal position is one thing but the reality for players coming to the end of their deals is quite something else. And in many cases the big question will be rather than being forced to stay  whether they will be ablr to find another club to join. The reality is that in the current seriously difficult financial situation there looks likely to be fewer and fewer jobs available anyway. As things stand there are no winners in our current situation and legal arguments are a real irrelevancy. We have suggestions over agents getting litigious over unpaid fees, pundits missing out on payments per their contracts and much else. It’s sad that many don’t seem to realise we are living in a different world now where the normal legal arguments really should be forgotten. We are told we are in this together. Sometimes it really doesn’t feel that way.

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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon