Webster case may force change
Fifa could review policies after a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling on the Andy Webster case.
Last Updated: 31/01/08 4:06pm
Fifa could review their transfer policies after a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling on Wednesday on the Andy Webster case.
Former Hearts player Webster appealed against a ruling by Fifa's dispute resolution chamber to pay £625,000 compensation to the Scottish club after he broke his contract to join Wigan in 2006.
The player, who is currently on loan at Rangers, quit Hearts after three years of a four-year contract.
The CAS decided Webster will only have to pay up the final year of his contract to secure his release, reducing the amount of compensation he must pay to £150,000. It insisted there was no straightforward reason why the governing body would reach the first figure.
But hitting out at the decision, Fifa President Sepp Blatter said: "The decision which CAS took on January 30 is very damaging for football and a Pyrrhic victory for those players and their agents, who toy with the idea of rescinding contracts before they have been fulfilled.
"CAS did not properly take into consideration the specificity of sport as required by article 17 par. 1 of the regulations on the status and transfer of players.
"Because of this unfortunate decision, the principle of contractual stability, as agreed in 2001 with the European Commission as part of the new transfer regulations and which restored order to the transfer system, has been deemed less important than the short-term interests of the player involved."
FIFA are now concerned that, in future, any player at the same stage of a contract as Webster reached will know the cost of buying themselves out of a deal.
They could review their policies on transfers in the wake of the ruling, now the loophole has been exploited.
In their statement, Fifa said: "Should the protection of contractual stability finally indeed be subverted, Fifa will consider appropriate measures to safeguard the special nature of sport with regard to employment contracts."