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Hartlepool Awarded Compensation For Luca Murphy

12 April 2022

Hartlepool United can today confirm that it has won its case against Fulham FC with the Professional Football Compensation Committee awarding a six-figure sum in respect of Luca Murphy. 

 

Luca Murphy joined Hartlepool United aged nine and progressed all the way through the club’s youth development system before being noticed by topflight clubs including Fulham FC, which was a Premier League club at the time.  

 

In January 2019, with Murphy aged 17, Fulham agreed a fee for the player, following which he was given permission to spend a period at Fulham.

 

Fulham subsequently withdrew from the transfer, stating that the player hadn’t met standards and Murphy returned to Hartlepool. Immediately upon return, the previously exemplary scholar’s behaviour changed markedly to such an extent that it led to mutual termination of his contract in March 2019. 

 

Within just 11 days of that termination, Fulham signed Murphy on a two-year deal. Fulham subsequently refused to acknowledge that any compensation was due to Hartlepool. That remained the case for three years.

 

Club Chairman Raj Singh commented: 

 

“I’m obviously delighted that we have finally been granted this compensation. The circumstances and timeline around Luca’s departure speak for itself and we always considered that compensation was due. Luca was a player that was with us from the age of nine.”

 

“I am however bitterly disappointed at the manner in which Fulham have conducted their business. As a club we did everything we possibly could to resolve this amicably for nearly 3 years and we’ve been ignored, seen delays and had technicalities thrown at us throughout. At the final hour Fulham even looked to off load players that they didn’t want as an alternative to paying due compensation.”

 

“The compensation is probably a drop in the ocean for a big club like Fulham, but it is a large amount for Hartlepool United which at the time was a non-league club. It was also withheld during an incredibly difficult period that included the Covid pandemic. That approach could literally have sent our club to the wall.”

 

“More recently Lee [Rust] and our legal team have had to pursue this claim to the fullest extent to get this result. On that note it is also important to highlight that despite us winning this case, we had to spend a large amount on fees and management time that, under current regulations, cannot be reclaimed. That has to change and I would urge the PFCC to look at this. Undoubtedly those costs and resources are a barrier for smaller clubs that don’t have in-house legal teams like Fulham. It will mean that many cases are going unchecked which is just wrong and against the spirit of the game. It’s something that I felt that we had to stand up to as a club.”

 

Lee Rust, Senior Advisor at Hartlepool United, has been leading on the matter and commented:

 

“I’m pleased that we can finally bring this one to a close for the club. It’s been far from straightforward. Muckle LLP have done an excellent job with legal representation, instructing Counsel from Littleton Chambers. It’s absolutely crucial that the PFCC protects the value and efforts that clubs like Hartlepool put into academy systems and it’s pleasing to see this being upheld. Without that protection there is a much lower incentive for clubs below topflight to invest into youth development systems, which would be a loss for football on the whole.”


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