The Football Association of Ireland’s Chief Executive Officer Fran Rooney today described as "a landmark decision" the ruling by FIFA to uphold the FAI’s appeal on behalf of Crumlin United FC for the right to receive solidarity payments in respect of the transfer of Robbie Keane to Tottenham Hotspur.
"This is fantastic news for Crumlin United and other schoolboy clubs who have invested in the development of Irish talent at the earliest stages of players’ careers," said Mr Rooney.
"Schoolboy clubs make huge contributions to a player’s development and this landmark decision reflects FIFA’s commitment to acknowledging that investment. It will have lasting positive impact on schoolboy clubs in Ireland," he added.
The claim was the initiative of the FAI’s Career Guidance Officer Eoin Hand, who processed the appeal to FIFA’s Player Status Committee requesting acknowledgement of Crumlin United’s right to receive solidarity contributions in line with FIFA’s own regulations governing the status and transfer of players.
According to the regulations, in the case of an international transfer, 5% of a players transfer fee is to be redistributed as a solidarity contribution to the club(s) involved in the training and education of the player in his formative years.
The sum due to Crumlin United could amount to more than €150,000.
The English FA, the FA Premier League and the English Football League had contested the interpretation of the regulation in the case of Robbie Keane, but FIFA have ruled fully in favour of the FAI’s contention that Crumlin were entitled to the payment.
Gerry McGuigan of Crumlin United FC said he was delighted with the outcome. “This decision is reward for the determination shown in pursuing the case.
"The FAI’s initiative in taking the case to FIFA and the successful outcome paves the way for other clubs who have similarly invested in the development of successful players for the international stage," he said.
The FAI’s Career Guidance Officer Eoin Hand, who followed initial discussions with FIFA with a written case submission, commented: "This is a really significant day for Irish schoolboy clubs who can now be assured of proper contributions for their part in the training and education of young players at such a crucial stage of a player’s development", Mr Hand said.
"We were delighted to bring the case to FIFA and secure the right result," he added