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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Arsene Wenger Wary of Webster Rule ahead of January 2009 Transfer Window

(This entry was originally posted in this blog on December 9, 2008 and the information is based on that time.)

Arsene Wenger is now worried about Webster rule under which he may lose some of his young talents from Arsenal. The French manager lost Mathiue Flamini and Alexandr Hleb during Summer 2008 transfer window under this ruling, and he thinks, Webster could be dangerous for the club and all the clubs should be wary of this rule before players and their agents start using this rule broadly.

Scottish professional football player Andy Webster made a move from Scottish club Heart of Midlothian to Wigan Athletic during the third year of his four-year contract with the club, using the loophole in Article 17 of a EU law which is adopted by FIFA too. The article talks about the compensation of breaching a contract ‘without just cause’. According to this article, a professional, aged under 28, can walk out of the contract after three years of the signing of the deal. Andy Webster moved to Wigan Athletic in the third of his four-year deal with Heart, given the fact that he joined a foreign club and gave enough notice to his previous club. Many legal proceedings took place already over this controversial transfer. His previous club Hearts demanded a compensation of £625,00 which was reduced to £150,000 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on 30 January 2008. Andy Webster is currently playing for Bristol City on loan from Scottish club Rangers.

So, there is no doubt, Arsenal has a lot to worry about this rule. There are many clubs are eyeing on Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas who is expected to be a hot cake in the upcoming January transfer window. Rumors have it in the media that many clubs are planning to make lucrative bid for the player in January. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger did hide his fear about Cesc Fabregas, stating that his the young midfielder can leave the club under this rule.

Reuters reported:

“Cesc (Fabregas) could leave under the ruling. But I know he loves it here. It is important also we get him to sign the new deal offered.”

He added: “Many in football forget that the Webster Rule exists. After three years a player can either sign a deal or go.

“Top clubs might handle this but, at a lower level, it could ruin them. “Agents at the moment have been reluctant to go into the Webster ruling. But it will happen in the same way as the Bosman ruling. Football is in fear at the moment.” The Bosman Ruling, which came into force 13 years ago, allowed players freedom of contract and movement and revolutionised the face of European football.

There are many clubs who are ready to pay such a compensation for signing a player like Fabregas. That is the main problem for Wenger at this moment. If the player is offered a huge amount, then he might be tempted to leave the club. Now, let us see what FIFA decides about Webster ruling.

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