Solidarity Contribution

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By Craig Hope, Daily Mail, in conversation with John Devine

Junior clubs could be missing out on thousands of pounds from the transfer of their former players.

That is the fear of Wallsend Boys Club chairman, Steve Dale. His club benefited from the £2M transfer of Fraser Forster from Newcastle to Celtic in 2012 so news of the 26-year-old England goalkeeper’s transfer to Southampton last month was well received in North Tyneside.

The windfall is all part of the ‘solidarity contribution’ mechanism set out in the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players.

But because junior clubs have to make a claim for their entitlement to the buying club within 18 months of the deal, Mr Dale believes that potentially millions could be going unclaimed by grassroots clubs worldwide.

“I’d query how many junior clubs are actually aware of the regulations and what they could be entitled to. It’s always great to see former players go on to bigger things and everyone at the club is absolutely delighted to see Fraser playing at the top of the game, we wish him well. At the same time, if the clubs which played a part in his early career can benefit in some small way from his move, this makes a huge difference to the kids we look after week in, week out,” he said.

English clubs only receive the payment when a player moves between clubs registered in different football associations (i.e. international transfers) and a transfer fee is involved, as was the case with Forster when he swapped Scotland for England last month. It does not apply to domestic deals.

5% of every transfer fee between clubs in different associations is set aside to be distributed to any club to which the player was registered between the seasons of their 12th and 23rd birthdays. The amount received is proportional to the time spent under their care, which is recorded on a ‘player passport’. Going forward, it could be an invaluable source of future income for the likes of Wallsend. The North Tyneside club is one of the country’s most famous talent factories and more than 65 of their youngsters have gone on to play professionally, including Alan Shearer, Peter Beardsley, Michael Carrick, Steve Bruce and Lee Clark.

“Unfortunately, not many played abroad though!” Mr Dale added, “It’s increasingly hard for grassroots clubs at all levels to raise funds each year, so if any are fortunate enough to have a player transfer internationally in these circumstances later in his career, it is important to bear this in mind. Wallsend is a registered charity so most of our income is still from donations, but I hope more junior clubs can benefit from similar situations in future.”

For more information, help or advice please contact John Devine on 0191 211 7905.