Lord Mawhinney slams football deals

Football League chairman Lord Mawhinney has hit out at the lack of legal integrity in football players’ contracts.

Speaking at a conference held by the British Association of Sports and the Law today, Lord Mawhinney said that few clubs and agents have respect for the contracts of their players.

“I have lost count of the number of Football League chairmen who have complained to me about unregulated approaches to some of their players. Too many agents behave as if players’ contracts are at best a minor inconvenience. And clubs, too, make moves to sign or sell players before the end of their contracts,” said Mawhinney.

“Consequently, there is a real danger that many fans will begin to suspect that contracts are not worth the paper on which they are written. The regular breaking of contracts calls into question the integrity of the legal process,” he added.

The value and complexity of players’ contracts has increased rapidly over the last few years, fuelled by an influx of media and sponsorship deals. Latest figures from Deloitte show that transfer spending by UK clubs broke the £500m barrier this summer.

As a result, disputes over contracts are on the rise. Litigators were appointed to fight over the contracts of former Manchester United defender Gabriel Heinze, now at Real Madrid, and former West Ham star Carlos Tevez, who transferred to Manchester United.