Pre-contracts in football

By Andrew Macdonald

It is common practice for clubs to ask players to enter into pre-contract agreements, often young players who are prevented from entering into a contract, normally the scholarship agreement, due to their age and the applicable football regulations. However, are such agreements enforceable?

We have seen many examples of these agreements — be it by way of a letter for players to sign or undated contracts or clubs producing a deed of undertaking. However, they all have the same goal: to tie the player into a scholarship and/or Premier League contract before they are able to actually sign a contract.

They may contain the basic terms of the student arrangement, scholarship contract and/or Premier League contract; provide that the Premier League contract is conditional upon a club trigger (for example serving notice on the player); contain remuneration details for entering into the contract/deed; or include representations and warranties by the player (and often parents or the agent too)…

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