§ 7. Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu
asked the Minister of Labour if he will state the details of the agreement reached between the Football League and the Professional Footballers' Association under the auspices of his Department.
§ Mr. Mallalieu
Would the right hon. Gentleman kindly summarise that part of the agreement which deals with the retain and transfer system, and will he say whether at his Ministry a substantial modification of that system was agreed?
§ Mr. Hare
When the hon. Member sees the full text of the agreement, I think he will agree that probably three points are most important. Point (3) is that the player is to decide by 31st May whether or not to accept; Point (4) is that, if he does not accept, the club will retain and place him on the transfer list. Point (7), which I think is relevant, is that if by 31st August he is still not transferred, the Management Commit-
§ accidents in industry can be met to some extent by increasing the number of inspectors?
§ Following is the information:
§ tee of the Football League will, on the application of the player, deal with the matter. Players also have the right to appeal to the Management Committee in connection with transfer fees.
§ Mr. C. Pannell
Will the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that in this matter his own good faith has been impugned, particularly by members of the Football League who suggested that Mr. Claro had what one can only call unilateral negotiations with the players? And as we who have taken part in these negotiations all know that these sort of charges are quite unwarranted, will the right hon. Gentleman deny them and say that his Department has acted as circumspectly in this matter of negotiations as it has always been its tradition to do?
§ The terms of the agreement are as follows:
- (1) No transfers to take place during the term of the contract except by mutual consent of club and player.
- (2) The player to be informed by the 19th May preceding the end of the contract of the club's offer for a new contract.
- (3) The player to decide by 31st May whether or not to accept.
- (4) If he does not accept the club will retain and place him on the transfer list.
- (5) If he is not transferred by the 30th June the club may continue to retain him on payment of £15, £14, £13, £12, according to the Division, up to 31st July.
- (6) If not transferred by 31st July the player will sign a playing contract for one month on the offered terms subject to the club maintaining efforts to transfer him.
- (7) If by 31st August he is still not transferred, the Management Committee of the Football League will, on the application of the player, deal with the matter. The players also have their present right of appeal to the Management Committee in connection with transfer fees, etc., at any time.
§ 8. Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu
asked the Minister of Labour what was the nature of the recent representations made to him by the Professional Footballers' Association concerning the operation of the agreement made between them and the Football League under the auspices of his department; and what was his reply.
§ Mr. Hare
No representations were made to me. My Department arranged a meeting on 16th March at which the Professional Footballers' Association expressed the view that the amendments which the Football League proposed to make to their Regulations did not fully implement the agreement of 18th January. The points raised by the Association were placed before the Extraordinary General Meeting of the League on 14th April, but I understand that it was decided at that meeting not to change the present transfer system.
§ Mr. E. Fletcher
In view of the fact that some misunderstanding has obviously arisen between the Football League and the Professional Footballers' Association, will not the right hon. Gentleman see that his Department brings the parties together as soon as possible with a view to some sensible arrangement for the future being made?
§ Mr. Hare
I think that the sensible thing would be for the parties to set up as soon as possible a joint negotiating committee under an independent chairman at which the remaining differences between them could be discussed. I will certainly give assistance with such a 770 committee, but conciliation can be successful only when both parties are prepared to honour their agreements.
§ Mr. Mallalieu
May we take it that it is the Minister's view that the Football League has gone back on the agreement on which it gave an undertaking in the Ministry? If that is so, will the right hon. Gentleman make it very clear in future negotiations that industrial peace is impossible unless both sides can be trusted to keep their word?
§ Mr. Hare
I do not want to aggravate the situation. It is not for my Ministry to interpret an agreement between the two parties, but as far as I and my departmental officers are concerned, we have no doubt that the Professional Footballers' Association is right in its contention, and the Football League was informed of our views in a letter dated 4th April.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the views he has just expressed are certainly the views held by my hon. Friends? Will he make it clear to the Football League that when the good offices of the Ministry of Labour are asked for we are entitled to expect that decisions arrived at there will be honoured by both sides, and that in an industry such as this, where the negotiating machinery is very young, it indeed strikes a mortal blow at confidence by the players if this kind of chicanery is to go on any more?