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Football Academy Contracts – Five Things You Need To Know

Football Academy Contracts – Five Things You Need To Know

If your child is serious about football – and has the skill – the football academy system might well beckon. If you are approached by a scout or registered, it’s undoubtedly a fantastic opportunity. After all, academies offer everything from top-notch training to high quality education. But remember –it’s a two-way street.

In the excitement of registering, it is easy to forget that you – on behalf of your child – will be entering a legal contract with obligations, responsibilities and potential restrictions on who your child plays with in the future. Reports appear regularly of disputes between youth players, their parents and club. So independent advice is essential before entering a contract.

Here are 5 things to consider about academy contracts:

  1. Scouts and intermediaries – If you are approached by a scout, ensure he is registered with the relevant club. If you are dealing with an intermediary check he is registered with the FA. Representation contracts with intermediaries can only be entered if the player is under 16. If he is under 18 the parent or guardian must sign the agreement.
  2. Academy registration – There are three stages in the academy system: Foundation, Youth Development and Professional Development. At each stage you should ensure you know what the legal position should your child wish to move from the academy or if the academy wishes to release your child
  3. Expenses – Youth players do not get paid in their early years with an academy. But you should check to see if travel or other expenses will be covered. You and your child are making a big commitment that will take up a lot of time and energy.
  4. Academy environment – The percentage of young academy players who forge a successful professional playing career is extremely low. You should investigate what the academy is offering in terms of education and welfare support to ensure your child will be as well-equipped as possible to make a life outside football if that becomes necessary.
  5. Scholarships (Apprenticeships) – Your child can be offered a scholarship at any time after 1st January in the year of his 14th birthday. This is a big commitment on both sides – it involves a two-year contract between club and player with a full-time football development and education programme. But at this point you should be clear on the following:
  • How will the apprenticeship be extended?
  • What happens if the club wishes to release your child?
  • On release, will there be help seeking another club or finding other opportunities?
  • In what circumstances can your child ask to leave a club that wishes to keep him on? The amount of compensation that may be payable by the releasing club to the new club can sometimes restrict the player’s freedom of movement at a crucial stage in his development as a player.

At Winston Brown & Co. we offer specialist legal advice on these and other issues surrounding youth football academy contracts. To get in touch, call us on 0203 468 0924 or contact us online.


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