Changes could be afoot for Junior football very soon as news has spread that an MEP is challenging the retention rule in Junior football on behalf of one of his constituency members.
The MEP and his constituency member are taking the matter to the courts with the argument that retention is a breach of employment laws and human rights. It is widely assumed that this court case will bring an end to retention once and for all in Junior football.
Under the retention rule a Junior football club if they want to, retains a player at the end of every season. For that player to move to another club at junior level, the club he is leaving is entitled to a fee set by the SJFA from the club wanting to sign the player for the transfer to happen.
Basically this means that for a retained player to move to another Junior club money must be paid for his services. If this fee or a bargained fee is not met then the player is not allowed to move to the team or any other Junior club until the retention fee is met.
The rule is met by criticism as effectively a club could end someone’s Junior footballing career by not letting them move without receiving their “asking price.” The player can play Amateur or professional football but not Junior until the fee is paid.
Some clubs will argue that they are entitled to receiving a fee for their retained players to cover what they have paid on the players wages and will not want to lose a top player for free when he could come back and haunt them. But surely paying for a player when he is at the club should not be a problem if he is proving his worth with his performances on the pitch?
The player would only be allowed to play trials for other Junior teams and even then you can only play as a trialist three times for a club. It is harsh on players wanting to play Junior football as they could be forced out if nobody meets their club’s demands.
If the case is successful against retention then effectively Junior Football will be changed forever. Clubs will no longer receive fees for retained players if they are out of contract and effectively Bosman transfers will likely be introduced with out of contract players being able to move freely from club to club with ease.
Players will more likely be happier than clubs if this ruling occurs and many frozen out players will be able to play Junior football again.
The sooner the rule changes the better.
Written by Calvin Berry