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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47404
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Our 19 year old son has spent 12 hard years of working his

Customer Question

our 19 year old son has spent 12 hard years of working his way and progressing extremely well in his football, he was scouted at the age of 7 by Portsmouth FC and spent 11 happy years there and awarded a Scholarship from the age of 16-18. However, following this Portsmouth released him because at that time he required U21s experience football to help him progress from youth into the mens game which Portsmouth did not have and therefore they kindly arranged for George to have trials at Basingstoke Town FC and as a consequence of this had yet another successful year at Basingstoke last season playing for their Academy where he received players player and manager's player awards as well as playing for their U21s squad and he also dual signed for Farnham Town FC which was brilliant for his progression into mens soccer. Towards the end of last season a new 1st team Manager came on-board at Basingstoke, ***** ***** (TB), and announced he was to make many changes to their existing experienced 1st team squad as unfortunately their 1st team were relegated. Therefore, he made promises to sign on young talent from Basingstoke's Academy and George (our son) was lined up to be signed but TB said he was unable at the end of last season to offer George a contract because he hadn't seen enough of his play so he invited him to pre-season training with his newly formed 1st team squad which was fine. George managed 9 days of pre-season training when suddenly he had to be treated for a niggly back problem (so we invested into treatment to get this problem corrected) in order that he would be fit again ready to start this coming season. After his 9 days of pre-season training he was informed by his assistant manager (coach to TB) that TB was highly impressed with him, after the very first pre-season friendly game at Winchester FC George was called into an office to sign Registration Forms for Basingstoke FC and offered a weekly contract of £50 which was verbally agreed and shaken on there and then, also George has a copy of the confirmed verbally agreed contract on his mobile which was sent to him in text form. However, weeks passed and TB continued signing on more and more players from outside the club and George had to keep asking his assistant manager over the past weeks "When will I be signing my promised verbally agreed contract?", to which went on deaf ears but the manager continued to lead him on taking him to pre-season friendlies, even paying for him to go to Guernsey last weekend knowing he was fully fit again to play and managed to bring him on for the last 10 minutes of the game. However, a day later George was called into TB's office and told that he will not get enough minutes this season and therefore he will need to be dual signed with another club. George later asked TB if he could sign his promised £50pw contract to which TB refused & informed him that regrettably he was unable to go-ahead and do that now because he had already used up the club's budget! With this George had no other option but to walk out on the club, broken hearted, unemployed, no team to play for this season and he is unable to sign for any other club in Basingstoke's league now because Basingstoke so cruelly signed him on without his promised contract. As parents we will of course support and work with him to get something sorted as he now has some big life decisions to make after 12 years of focussing hard on his football. However, my question is because of the cruel way he has been led on over the past 10 weeks or so and ill-treated by Basingstoke FC, in the eyes of the law would he be entitled to seek some sort of compensation bearing in mind he was made to register/sign for the club which now prevents him from playing for any other club in that league this season and also for the club to lead him on verbally promising and handshaking on a contract which never came to fruition, leaving him unemployed, broken hearted and having to re-think his whole life over again? We appreciate it's a very cruel and competitive world and business is business but I don't think many of these so called semi-professional & professional clubs need to understand they cannot treat talented and gifted young men that have a future in the game like pieces of meat!
Any helpful advice would be much appreciated.
With many thanks and kindest regards,
Annette Wilkinson
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your introduction Ben, I look forward to receiving your reply. Kind regards.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Hi there. Can you tell me if George is owed any money since agreeing to the contract?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
No, not what I know of.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
OK, that's very kind of you, thank you very much. I wish you well in court today, kindest regards, Annette
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Thank you and no problem at all.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Hello Annette, many thanks for your patience. There are a couple of options he can pursue here, although neither would necessarily be that easy. First of all if he can try and argue that he has been continuously employed by them for more than 2 years as an employee, rather than a volunteer then he may be entitled to redundancy. The issue here is that he may not have actually been classified as an employee and he may not also have the required 2 years unbroken service to qualify.

So I would say that in the circumstances he is better off pursuing a simple breach of contract action for their failure to proceed with the verbal contract he was offered. A legally binding contract is created when there is an offer, an acceptance and consideration. The offer was clearly there, the acceptance followed and the consideration could be that he fully relied on this agreement to refuse any other potential offers and concentrate his efforts on this one. So by them reneging on the agreement they may be acting in breach of contract. This would not be the case if for example the offer was made conditional on anything and he did not satisfy these conditions. However, if there were no conditions with the offer and they simply refused to honour the contract, then that would be a breach of contract.

In terms of compensation, that is where he may be slightly disappointed. A breach of contract claim would try and place him in the position he would have been had the breach not occurred. You must also consider any ability the club would have had to terminate the contract early. So for example if they could have ended the contact early even if they took him on, then he would only really be entitled to the notice period due on termination. If no early termination provision existed then he could potentially look for damages for the full season, i.e. £50pw until the time when they could have terminated him anyway, such as the end of the season next year. He cannot force them to take him on and progress his career unfortunately. Financial damages for the current agreement is all he can realistically pursue. It is unfortunately a very, very competitive industry and hundreds of players are eft disappointed at some stage in their careers. So he does have rights, although not necessarily as robust as he would have hoped for.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow if you wanted to take this further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

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Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Good evening Ben, this all makes so much sense & you have answered my questions comprehensively. I think we would end up stressing ourselves & be worse off if we took this any further, with no guarantee of being successful and at the end of the day it won't get George to where he needs to be! I was just intrigued where he stood by law. Since our contact this morning I have received an email from Basingstoke's manager, he was very complimentary about George's football & said he has a very bright future in the sport. He also said George is welcome to continue training with the club. He still wants him there but doesn't want to pay him! George will be happy to play for nothing but after being offered some money in one hand & taken in another, it becomes a trust issue, he'd rather walk away. Fortunately, other clubs are after him & maybe we just need to go with the belief that everything in life happens for a reason & sometimes for the better. I'd rather keep people on our side for the sake of our son & his future. He was treated appallingly in this matter but he's told us he's put it behind him & will move onto better things - wise lad. Thank you very much for all your help and assistance in this matter it is much appreciated. With kind regards, Annette
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Hi Ben, just one more thing, please can you ensure this does not go on review for the public because I've used real names & mentioned the football club in question. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Hi thank you. I will ensure that all identifiable information is removed. Whilst you can pursue this, he should be wary of burning bridges in this industry and try not to alienate himself as 'the one who makes claims' so he needs to think seriously before he decides on whether to go that far

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you Ben, it's a big lesson learnt and he will be wiser for it, thank you again for all your help today, best regards
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

You are welcome, all the best