Port Vale FC effectively have until noon on Monday, when the club has to register its squad for the Capital One cup clash with Burnley, to resolve the issue of the player’s contracts.
Players have stalled on signing new contracts issued by the club’s administrators. Just five players had existing contracts that did not need renewing. With the endless delays to Keith Ryder’s takeover bid and with the club unable to approve new contracts until that deal was completed, the rest of the squad are on rolling weekly and monthly contracts.
On Wednesday, administrator Bob Young, after approval from the Football League and consultation with manager Micky Adams, offered longer-term deals until the end of the season in an attempt to offer the players “greater security.” Young expected all players to sign.
However, on Thursday, a statement from the players revealed that they would not sign the contracts as expected. The players express concern over the legality of the new deals and whether a new owner would declare them void. So, rather than signing the new deals, eighteen players decide to take legal advice from the PFA.
Later that day, administrator Bob Young remained confident that a deal could be reached, telling BBC Radio Stoke that he didn’t see it as a “major stumbling block” and that he would “expect the contracts to be signed in time to play the first league match.” However, some fans seized on his choice of words as Vale face Burnley in the cup, four days before the league campaign begins on Saturday 18th August.
The players are set to meet the PFA on Friday to seek more guidance, but with Monday’s deadline fast approaching, time is of the essence.
Club PFA representative Gareth Owen told the Sentinel: “The PFA’s legal experts are going through these deals with a fine tooth comb but they are weighty documents.
“They are talking to the administrators and Football League lawyers to find a resolution. There is no debate on money, but there is concern over the security of contracts if and when we come out of administration.
“We have seen at other clubs new owners saying they will not come in unless players are removed from the wage bill.”