Football Transfer Fees

Oral Answers to Questions — Advocate-General – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th January 2001.

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Photo of Jim Murphy Jim Murphy Labour, East Renfrewshire 12:00 am, 30th January 2001

If she will make a statement on representations she has received on the European Commission's proposed reform of European law relating to football transfer fees. [146204]

Photo of Dr Lynda Clark Dr Lynda Clark Advocate General for Scotland, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Advocate General for Scotland

I have received no such representations. However, I understand that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is actively involved in this area.

Photo of Jim Murphy Jim Murphy Labour, East Renfrewshire

I thank my hon. and learned Friend for that answer, which will no doubt fill the football fans and football players of Scotland with a great sense of reassurance.

Despite the excellent efforts of Craig Brown, Scotland currently lies 25th in the FIFA world rankings, a mere four places above Trinidad and Tobago. The FIFA general secretary said today that a new deal on transfer fees will be announced within weeks. I ask my hon. and learned Friend to use her influence so that, when asked for a legal interpretation, she will ensure that football's unique position is respected. In that way, we can ensure that Craig Brown and the Scotland coach have a generation of young talent for years to come. If we abolish transfer fees, my fear is that up to 10 Scottish clubs will go bankrupt or part time within the next five years.

Photo of Dr Lynda Clark Dr Lynda Clark Advocate General for Scotland, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Advocate General for Scotland

If someone beats a path to my door seeking my advice, I will do my best to give a legal opinion, if appropriate. So far as giving help, comfort and support is concerned, I think that the Prime Minister and other Members the Government have already made it plain that they support a system that will assist smaller clubs, promote the development of young players, stabilise the sport and encourage those in it. The junior clubs in my hon. Friend's constituency will, I am sure, be very grateful for his support in this matter.