Walker Morris‘s sports team has won a crucial football case with major repercussions for the lucrative football transfer market.
Partners Chris Caisley and David Hinchliffe led the team advising Bradford City Football Club in its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne against a decision of Fifa’s Players’ Statute Committee.
The case hinged on whether a loan to another football club counted as a transfer. In November 2001, Bradford bought defender Andrew Tod from Dunfermline Athletic Football Club for £100,000. The transfer agreement allowed a pro rata payment of £1,000 per game to Dunfermline if Tod was transferred by Bradford before he had played 25 games for the club.
Tod played 19 games for Bradford, before being briefly loaned to Heart of Midlothian. He returned to Bradford and played another five games, before the club loaned him to Dundee United. Tod’s contract was then terminated by mutual consent.
He had played 24 games for Bradford and Dunfermline claimed £24,000 or £1,000 per game on the basis that Tod was transferred before he played 25 games. However, Bradford said that a temporary loan did not qualify as a transfer.
In June 2004 Fifa said that Tod’s first loan, to Hearts, counted as a transfer and therefore Bradford should pay £19,000 to Dunfermline. But the Court of Arbitration for Sport disagreed, saying that although administratively a loan and a permanent transfer are dealt with in the same way, they should not otherwise have the same consequences.
Walker Morris instructed Cloisters Chambers’ Chris Quinn. Dunfermline used an in-house team for the case.