Player agent Kevin Sharp has delivered a warning to Leeds United and the wider football world, claiming that the issue around player contracts – which traditionally run to June 30 – is a “huge problem”.
Sharp represents Kalvin Phillips and Robbie Gotts at Leeds but says he has been in contact with all the Leeds players since the crisis has hit.
Talking on BBC Radio Leeds, Sharp said, “It’s been a shock for all the players, it’s a situation that’s very unique and you thought you’d come out of but that’s obviously not the case.”
Talking about player contracts and what might happen, Sharp said, “What is currently in place is that professional footballers’ contracts run to June 30. Now, if the club chooses not to keep you or re-sign you it’s forced to give you an extra month’s salary which takes you to July 31.
“Now obviously that has to be reassessed now because the season has yet to be concluded, the clubs may need these players who, potentially, they may not want for next season, so contracts may have to be extended.
“Also on top of that no-one knows when the league is going to start again, will it be concluded or if it will be void. So all these things have to be taken into consideration. Certainly one of the major parts is the players’ security – whether they’re going to be staying at the club or moving on. There will be thousands of players in this predicament and it’s going to be a huge problem.”
Talking about the players’ fitness and what happens when the season re-starts, Sharp said, “I talk to all the players… They’re going to have get up to speed very quickly and that’s going to be very hard and a big worry for every player out there and every manager.”
The issue of players’ contracts is going to be a big one and it could have a huge impact on the season.
Sharp’s clients, Phillips and Gotts, won’t be affected with contracts running to 2024 and 2022 respectively.
However, Gaetano Berardi is out of contract in the summer and Leeds have a number of loan players, like Illan Meslier, Ben White, Jack Harrison and Jean-Kevin Augustin.
These contracts are set to run out at the scheduled end of this season and Leeds will need to look at extensions or triggering options to make the deals permanent. However, with financial issues through loss of gate receipts, this could be an issue too.
No one knows how this is going to work yet and it could well be different between loans and permanent deals.
Can Berardi, or anyone else out of contract, be forced to stay legally if they don’t want to?
Hopefully, Leeds won’t suffer here, with a good squad spirit and something to play for. But this is an issue which will have to be sorted on a much more macro level in the game.
In other Leeds United news, BBC set to broadcast 100 years of Leeds United special this weekend