Many unusual and unexpected things are heard in the courts of Scotland. However I had not, to my knowledge, been in court when reference was being made to the football transfer window, at least in a case that had nothing to do with football teams!
A couple of weeks ago, there was the usual crowd in Court 13 at Glasgow Sheriff Court. Lots of cases (83 to be precise) were on the list, many of them mortgage repossessions. Lots of people had turned up without representation in an effort to keep the roof over their heads.
Generally each case has its own specific circumstances – illness, separation, loss of employment – leading to mortgage arrears and frantic efforts to stave off repossession. From time to time an unusual solution to the problem is suggested, but generally it is only liberal applications of money which can solve the problems (there are actually far more things that a debtor can do to protect his position, but that is for elsewhere).
So when another case on the list called, no one was listening too much. But in this case, which is uncommon, the debtor had a solicitor appear for him, and one of the most respected and able lawyers in the city.
His client wanted to keep the two properties which were subject to repossession proceedings before the court that day. He anticipated substantial sums soon which would allow him to resolve matters. (So far nothing unusual).
However the source of funds was connected to the imminent opening of the transfer window. As the lawyer told the court, his client was a football agent who had a number of players on his books, some of whom were lined up for imminent transfers, with resultant payments to the agent. And that would solve the problem!
The Sheriff was interested – to be fair he was, as is his job, interested in every case which called, but clearly this had an additional element. The Sheriff asked if the lawyer could name the players who were about to be sold. No, came the response, but watch the papers!
The Sheriff did not pry further (which was in fact unusual as this was clearly an issue that was important to the question of when the mortgage arrears would be paid!)
The Sheriff agreed to give the debtor further time and repossession was prevented.
Even though the court list is a public document, I have decided not to name the football agent in question. The individual has been named in the press often enough in various different contexts over the years. However, what I can say is that anyone curious enough to look up the SFA website and its list of registered football agents will NOT find the person’s name!
I have no doubt that the lawyer gave the court the truth and nothing but the truth. Presumably he felt that the whole truth, namely that his client was not actually a REGISTERED agent, would have muddied the waters.
Indeed it is possible to act for a footballer and, when licensed activities are to be carried out, have a registered agent do the necessary. This explanation might have confused the issue for the court.
Hopefully the debtor will have matters sorted by the next time the cases call – if not, then the Sheriff might be taking rather more of an interest in the names of the players who are about to be moved along!
Posted by Paul McConville