There is a great piece over at the Soccerex Blog discussing the enforceability of pre-contracts signed by youth players. The legal issue arises from the purpose of a pre-contract, an agreement designed to secure the future rights of an adult player, and the ineligibility of a minor to enter into such a contract.
A pre-contract is an agreement which can contain terms laying out the player’s current student/scholarship agreement, future league contract, compensation and the conditions for the offer or rescission of the contract. So is such an agreement legal? Does it effectively allow clubs to sidestep the common laws and those set up by the FA and FIFA? Matthew Chantler, solicitor at Mills & Reeve LLP comments:
Even if the pre-contractual agreement contains the five basic elements, it may still be open to challenge, as the player will often be a minor, under the age of 18, and therefore, under common law in England and Wales, for the agreement to be binding it must be a contract for “necessaries”
The agreement must be “necessary” and in the player’s benefit at the time it was entered into. As the agreements are designed to protect the club and “tie” the player in, this may not be the case….If it is held that the agreement is purely for the protection of the club and not for the player’s benefit then it may be found to be void
Essentially a decision would have to be based on the specific terms of the contract and whether they were judged to be beneficial to the player or one-sided in the club’s favor. For more detail check out the full article >> Soccerex.