Conference to settle football queries

July 24, 1945
A round table conference between the management committee of the Football League, and the clubs will, I heard in London yesterday, be called to try and straighten out matters affecting the wages and status of players demobilised from the Forces.

The curious part of the league annual meeting was that the “fireworks” came at the conclusion when the clubs were considering regulations for the coming season of sectional rather than regional football. For instance, just when everyone was anticipating the report of the sub-committee on players’ wages, £4 a match was adopted without any discussion. The sub-committee appointed in May remains as silent as the FA regarding the League’s demand for a share of cup final and international match receipts.

That, however, will go before the FA Council which is to meet regularly in future so that the Emergency Committee will be disbanded. To revert to the players, however, the President, Mr. William Cuff, could give no ruling when asked what was the interpretation of re-engagement of players the Armed Forces Act. Mr. Cuff said that he did not know whether players’ agreements cancelled on September 3, 1939, could be regarded as ended at the conclusion of the 1939-40 season or whether they still carried on without, however, being effective. It is something the conference will have to decide. Mr. Cuff thought new agreements would have to be entered into, and, if  he is right, then a club must under the Act re/engage the demobilised player at the wage he was getting on being called up. In football it is £8 a week winter and £6 a week summer maximum. That is the lowest the clubs will be allowed to pay, but . . . as matters are at the moment the sky would be the limit if a club felt disposed to pay big money.

For instance, a demobilised player could be paid £100 a week if the club wished, for the Act makes this possible. And how would that be regarded in a competition in which the players are supposed to get only £4 a match? Even re-engagement at the pre-war maximum is more than the adopted regulations permit, so where are we?

We found at the meeting – less than five weeks before the opening day – the exact constitution of the Divisions, but matters of players’ release and travel have only as yet reached the “appeals” stage. Mr. George Allison, of Arsenal, asked if the League itself would make a direct approach to the chiefs of the various Services to ensure the release of players for matches, and was assured that the appeal would be made. Mr. Cuff added that the League was appealing to the Ministry of Transport for aid in the fulfilment of fixtures.

Another matter of indecision was Mr. Fred Everiss’s (West Bromwich Albion) suggestion that instead of players coming under the P.A.Y.E. Income Tax system that application should be made for them to pay tax on annual return. That has to be settled. So football is groping a little, and had there not been strong opposition, in which Mr. Stanley Ronald Williams, of Liverpool, played a big part, Tottenham Hotspur might have had their way in bringing about an alteration in the fixture list to avoid the home-and-away inter club games on successive Saturdays. There would not have been time to get it done, and even now the Third Division Regional fixtures have to be made. The point is that everything has been left too late. It was the earnest appeal by Mr. Harry Mansley, of Chester, which brought the Third Division regional football. It was quite a triumph for this fine champion of the small clubs.

As there will not be sufficient clubs in either region of the Northern Section to provide fixtures for the entire season the Northern Section Cup will be competed for on a League basis up to the semi-finals and final. A good idea.

The fact that details of the FA Cup Competition were given in this column last week gave our club representatives an advantage over all others for no public announcement had been made by the FA. The majority did not know that second “legs” of cup games were to be played in mid-week. It was Mr. Bill Gibbins, Everton’s chairman, who asked for news of the League’s share of the FA “cut” as this was adopted on an Everton resolution last May. The dove-tailing between League and FA misfired somewhere.
(Source: Evening Express: July 24, 1945; via © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited

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