By Nick Harris
18 October 2010
Wayne Rooney could put pressure on Manchester United to sell him by invoking Article 17 of Fifa’s transfer laws and unilaterally quitting his contract next summer.
The so-called ‘Webster ruling’ allowed Scotland’s Andy Webster to quit Hearts for Wigan in 2006, a decision ratified by the Court for Arbitration in Sport. In return he only had to pay Hearts a sum related to the amount of wages left on his contract, or around £150,000.
Rooney is reportedly desperate to leave United.
The last contract deal he did was in November 2006, to keep him at United until 2012.
The “protected period” of that contract under Fifa laws (three years) has already expired, which means Rooney can walk next summer for one year’s wages, or around £4.5m, equivalent to something like a 10th of his market value. Sort of.
This being a relatively new area of football law and tested only a few times so far, it gets much more complex than that.
Which all means Rooney might actually have to pay £10m, or £5m, or another figure. But certainly much less than he’s “worth”. (If he went down this route). He could merely suggest he’s thinking about it to increase his chances of a move.
Tuesday’s Independent has more coverage on this story.
But the bottom line is Rooney could walk away at a cut price next summer, giving him huge leverage in his attempts to leave – if indeed he still wants to.