During the FST's recent meeting with Fulham we asked if the club would clarify some queries we recieved based on loans and contracts, such as recall periods for loans and contract lengths for young players; they agreed to be a good idea, and that we'd deliver questions to Chief Operating Officer Darren Preston due course. This was taken on by committee member Mike Gregg, and you can see the Q&A below with answers in bold (also posted on Viva El Fulham), which produced some informative answers:
What are the dates for the Championship loan window?
The emergency loan window opens 7 days after the transfer window closes, and ends at 5pm on fourth Thursday in November and again in March.
With full-season loans can you recall players at any time or do you need a recall notice in it? If you can recall them at any time, is there a set date that they can only come back (e.g. only during the January transfer window)?
There is a break in January, but only if provision for it was made in the agreement
What are the different rules relating to goalkeepers and outfield players regarding loans?
A goalkeeper can have a recall clause exercisable at any time.
If a club pays a fee to loan a player all season, does that mean he cannot be recalled or sent back?
Does a player have to agree to being recalled?
No, if he agrees to the recall provision going in to the loan contract at the outset, then it's just up to the Club to recall.
What are the age restraints on offering contracts? For example, if a player turns 17 what is the maximum length a contract can be? Can it inclusde the potential for an extension?
No longer than 3 years (including option to extend).
At 18 is there any restriction to a length of contract?
FIFA say 5 years, but can go longer if consistent with local laws.
Are there any restrictions within contracts at these young ages you cannot add? For example, could a 17 year-old have a buyout clause in his contract that if another club offered £x amount we would have to sell?
No restrictions permitted due to age.
What's the major difference in clauses that the Football League does not allow that the Premier league allowed?
The FL requires divisional pay clauses (what will happen in the event of relegation i.e. stay the same or change).
When a player's contract is ending and the club offer a new contract, does it have to match exactly the last contract (min term & wage) for the player not to be allowed to leave on a free? Is there an age restriction to this?
To retain compensation rights:
For international moves it's the season in which the player turns 23 and the offer has to be at least equivalent to current value.
For domestic moves, a player aged 24 years or over as at 30 June can move from 1 July without compensation. If he's under 24 then the offer must be not less favourable than the current contract.
AOB: Generic questions regarding club policy
Does the club have a wage cap?
Did the club have a relegation clause in all the players' contracts this summer?
What is the clubs attitude to loan deals as opposed to permanent contracts?
We don't have a policy; we take each case on its individual merits.
Who decides if there will be a 'buy-out' clause added to a contract - the agent, the club, etc. - and how much that clause is worth?
We would try to avoid them and, in 99.9% of cases, we've been successful. In the few cases where we've agreed to do it, it's fully negotiated like everything else.
Who makes the decision on offering contracts to players outside the First Team squad?
This is a collaborative approach between their age group manager, Huw Jennings and Alistair Mackintosh, with the understanding of the Chairman. If they're in the U21s we'd include the First Team Manager as the intention would be that he would impact on his squad at some future point.
Why do the club seem to have the policy of not disclosing the fees for transfers?
Confidentiality provisions in transfer agreements between clubs prevent it.
Would the club be willing to have a list on the website of players and their contract information (length and end date, extension info, etc.)? Some websites list these and you do say in press releases how long a contract is.
We do; the information is contained in all First Team biographies on the website.
Thanks to the club for answering the questions. If you have any follow up queries please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @FulhamSuppTrust.
Affiliate organisations Football Supporters’ Federation and Supporters Direct met with representatives of FA Chairman Greg Dyke's England Commission last week 'to discuss the content and recommendations of its first report'.
The meeting seems to have been productive and positive, and you can read the full statement here:
A delegation from the Fulham Supporters’ Trust Board – compromising of Mike Gregg, Dan Crawford, Lorcan O’Connor and Neil Springate – met with Fulham Football Club’s chief executive officer Alistair Mackintosh and director of communications and marketing Sarah Brookes at Motspur Park on Thursday morning.
Prior to the Trust delegation posing a series of questions to the Club, Mr. Mackintosh suggested that a regular monthly meeting be held between the Club and Trust. This was agreed and the Trust looks forward to continuing our excellent working relationship with the Club.
The Club are committed to continuing with the plans to increase the capacity of Craven Cottage.
A River Works Licence was obtained earlier in the year. Port of London Authority (PLA) consulted extensively with river users and other interested parties and received a range of expert advice. The PLA is preparing detailed river works licence conditions.
Youth Team set-up
Alastair Mackintosh said the post-relegation cost-cutting has not significantly affected the Club’s youth team set-up. He said that the only change is a greater focus on selecting and developing youth talent from the London area, although this does not mean that the Club will cease to try and attract leading talent from overseas. Owner Shahid Khan is very keen to promote the youth academy. The youth set-up was integral to the team’s long-term development and the Club is continuing to try and tie down the cream of our young talent to new or extended contracts.
Fulham Football Club Board of Directors and Planning
The Club was considered to deficient at Board level of those sufficiently acquainted with Fulham FC’s history, in particular after the departure of Mark Collins and the sad death of Dennis Turner, both of whom were keen fans. Would this ‘fan representation’ be restored? Alistair Mackintosh said that the composition of the Board was to be examined by Shahid Khan.
Nothing had changed with regard to long-term planning and Shahid Khan intended to remain in charge for a long period. His investment thus far has not placed any debt on the Club. A return to the Premier League is intended and as soon as possible, but this could take longer than was envisaged. Shahid Khan wishes to invest in the infrastructure of the Club and would support the incoming manager with resources. In terms of marketing, the ‘synergy’ between Fulham Football Club and the Jacksonville Jaguars would continue and this would also include mutual sponsorship and links within sports science.
The fans’ concerns with the possible linking of the Club with any permitted UK franchise team from the NFL were raised. Alastair Mackintosh said he was unaware of any intentions of Shahid Khan in this regard.
As has been reiterated in the press reports since Magath’s sacking, the Club are not in a rush to replace Felix Magath and this may give Kit Symons a chance to prove his capabilities. In turn, Symons would be one of the names considered prior to the appointment of a permanent manager. In response to a question from the Trust, Alastair Mackintosh indicated that the use of a director of football was a possibility.
Alastair Mackintosh said that there be a review of what has happened following the appointment and subsequent sacking of Magath.
Unlike the previous season, where the Premier League had demanded of clubs that monies be spent promoting the interests of travelling fans, no such recommendations or demands were made by the Football League. Sarah Brookes agreed to examine the possibilities of assistance for travelling fans for certain mid-week away fixtures where long distance trips were needed.
(As an aside, the 20.00 kick off for the match versus Doncaster Rovers on 23 September 2014 was the Club’s decision in conjunction with the police.)
The Fulham Foundation
The Trust felt that more coverage of the excellent work of the Fulham Foundation was needed. Exposure for the Foundation’s efforts had proved difficult, even more so now that the Club had been relegated. Its promotion required great effort by Club staff to place stories about the Foundation in the local papers. The Club’s younger players were particularly supportive of the Foundation’s projects and participated readily.
The Trust reported that there had been many complaints about on-line ticket purchases, in particular the slowness of the electronic booking system. Sarah Brookes said that the ticket provider, C360, was a ‘stand alone’ organisation and, whilst the Club’s systems could handle heavy usage during ticket purchase, that of C360 could crash. Ticket office staff are looking at the best way to work with this system and the Club’s representatives recognised the likelihood of further problems ahead of popular away fixtures, such as Brighton, in the future.
At the beginning of March, the Trust’s Committee arranged a meeting with officials of Fulham FC, to be held on Monday, 14th April, At Motspur Park, with an agenda to be decided closer to the time.
Based on discussions with the Trust’s MPs and concerns being raised by the membership and Fulham fans in general, the following have been suggested for the meeting’s agenda:
(i) when will the redevelopment of the Riverside Stand commence?;
(ii) short- and longer-term future plans for the Club;
(iii) season ticket prices;
(iv) replacement of supporter liaison officer;
(v) unsatisfactory ticket allocation at home matches, and
The inadequate facilities for female supporters, in particular in the Johnny Haynes Stand, the indication of outstanding debt on one of the Fulham companies (following a recent newspaper report) and the poor rating of the provision of facilities for disabled fans will also be discussed with the Club.
Trust members are encouraged to contact the Committee by e-mail (email@example.com), with comments and/or suggestions for additional items for the agenda.