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Apr 4, 2007

Cork case could force action on transfer rules

FIFA could see their confusing transfer regulations challenged in the European courts after Cork City were refused permission to register players who had already represented two clubs since last July.

The Irish outfit signed Colin Healy and Gareth Farrelly on two year deals in February but were subsequently told they would be unable to feature until the end of the current worldwide registration period which ends on June 30. Cork would have been their third club which is against the governing body's rules.

However, the Eircom league outfit felt they had a strong case when appealing the decision considering Javier Mascherano's move to West Ham from Liverpool in January.

Liverpool argued that the regulation did not apply as Mascherano had spent time with Corinthians in Brazil, where the season is run in line with a January to December calendar. This is just how the football season runs in Ireland.

But this week FIFA threw out the appeal barring the two players from working in football again until July 1. It means FIFA's rule is in conflict with European Union law which forbids restrictions for its citizens to work when and where they want.

Cork still have the right to a further appeal through the footballing authorities but the players themselves could take the matter to the European courts. It is believed that as many as 30 players hoping to register for Irish clubs face similar problems.

The Finnish FA has already decided to ignore FIFA's rule and allow players to register under these same circumstances.

Cork boss Damien Richardson told the Irish Examiner: 'The whole situation puts the players and myself in a precarious position. It's not politically correct to stop men with family responsibilities from earning a living.

'I can't see that being accepted in any law, in any country, in any part of the world. We're reaching a very difficult situation if fellas just have to sign on the dole, go look for a postman's job or work in the bank.

'There's very, very hard decisions to be made and very, very hard questions to be asked. FIFA just seem to be washing their hands of this. I've got to exert as much pressure on people as I possibly can.

'Is it the fact that unless you're one of the big important people, you're not important? The morality and legality of situation needs to be looked at. I don't think there's a country in the world, no matter how developed, that can deny a man his right to a living. If he's got a job how can you stop him working. It's a basic human right.'