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Explaining The Retained List

15 May 2014

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Rovers' Official Website learns of the complexities surrounding contract negotiations.

While the referee’s final whistle on the last game of the season may signal the end of the work which goes on ON the field of play, it is the starting point off the pitch for many football clubs to start assessing the personnel required for the following campaign.

Some players will be under contract, some players will be offered new contracts and some will be out of contract, and potentially out of work, such is the cut-throat nature of the football industry.

So, who holds all the aces?

Doncaster Rovers Club secretary Phil Hough explains.

"Every case is different. There’s a whole host of mitigating circumstances which can affect a contract offer or contract withdrawal. 

"If a player comes to the end of his contract and is under the age of 24 and the Club want to retain their rights to compensation (a transfer fee) they have to offer the player 'not less favourable terms' to the ones that they are currently on. 

"However, a player can elect to try and get a better deal elsewhere and if the clubs subsequently cannot agree a fee then the case will be decided by a tribunal. In such case the panel members take into account the contract offer made to the player by both parties, so clubs are very mindful of that scenario when making contract offers.

"There are certain players, who obviously clubs will want to keep, but sometimes – particularly if there’s a revised budget – finances have to be used more economically.

"There is also a bit of risk factor with some players who feel they can earn a better deal elsewhere," he said.

The crux of the matter is here begins one giant game of poker.

In every football club’s case, they have to show their hand (retained list) by the third Saturday in May.

And just because a certain player isn’t on the list, doesn’t necessarily mean he has not been offered a contract.

"Talks continue. The landscape changes all the time but nothing will be done and dusted until all parties are happy," Hough said.

One thing is certain though, the next time the referee’s whistle blows and the eleven players out on the pitch start up again, there will have been plenty of effort already gone in to ensuring they are where they’re meant to be.

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