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Football bosses defend £1 a week contracts for players

SFA and SPFL chief executives said bonuses could make the salaries legal.

Payments: Stewart Regan and Neil Doncaster appeared before a committee of MSPs.
Payments: Stewart Regan and Neil Doncaster appeared before a committee of MSPs. PA

Scottish football bosses have defended the use of £1 a week contracts within the game.

Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan and SPFL counterpart Neil Doncaster told MSPs at Holyrood's public petitions committee the contracts may not break national minimum wage laws and do not bring the game into disrepute.

The Scottish Parliament has been investigating the use of the contracts for a number of years.

Last year, former St Mirren youth footballer Kieran Dornan received £1200 in compensation from the club after he was paid £1 a week.

Despite the out of court settlement, Regan and Doncaster said the contracts may be compliant with the law because their wages may be supplemented by appearance fees.

Regan told MSPs: "Even a player who is on his contract earning £1 per week, that may not be breaching the minimum wage legislation because he may be being paid an appearance fee and he may simply turn up to play a match and he may simply have that on a contract supplemented by an appearance fee.

"It is very difficult to say what is on that contract is in any relation to the number of hours being paid."

He added: "An appearance fee could be in total greater than the minimum wage for the hours that player is involved with the club."

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1376433-scottish-fa-youth-players-may-have-illegal-1-contracts/ | default

Committee convener Johann Lamont dismissed the suggestion the contract could comply with the law.

"The arithmetic does not allow it," she said

Doncaster also criticised the committee for focusing on the players' basic salaries instead of additional earnings such as bonuses.

"Just simply looking at the weekly wage will not tell you the information that you need in order to ascertain whether the national minimum legislation is being complied with or not," the SPFL chief executive said.

SNP MSP James Dornan said the appearance fee bonus scheme sounded like a "Roy of the Rovers scenario".

He added: "Surely a £1 per week contract from any club - trying to con some young boy into signing a contract - is bringing football into disrepute."

Reagan replied: "No, it's not. You are assuming that the club has done it deliberately. The club may well be ignorant on the contract that has to be used.

"You seem to be fixated [about] clubs that are somehow in breach of the legislation, they not be."

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1380321-spfl-chief-denies-misleading-msps-over-football-contracts/ | default

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