FIFA give Wigan green light over Webster

September 4, 2006

Wigan have finally received the green light from world governing body FIFA to play Andy Webster.

The move for Webster has been a ground-breaking one for Wigan, but also painstaking due to the complicated nature of the deal.

Webster freed himself early from his contract with Hearts, using a loophole in a European Union employment law adopted by FIFA.

With the 24-year-old three years into a four-year contract with the Scottish Premier League club, he invoked Article 17 of FIFA's rules governing transfers.

Webster gave Hearts notice of his intention to quit within 15 days of the end of last season, allowing him to move to a club outside Scotland.

Wigan moved in, with the transfer registered a month ago, but only now have FIFA ratified the deal, with a compensation figure to be decided at a forthcoming hearing.

The Scotland centre-half is now clear to make his Latics debut at Portsmouth on Saturday, much to the delight of the player and boss Paul Jewell.

'I am relieved this issue is now almost resolved,' said Jewell.

'It has taken many long hours of negotiation for Andrew to become a player at this club, but I'm convinced all the hard work will be worth it once the supporters see him play.

'He is a confident and committed defender who adds a huge amount of competition to the centre-back spots, which is extremely healthy for the club.

'It has been a difficult time for him as he's not had a full pre-season under his belt, spending a lot of the summer training on his own.

'But he has worked ever so hard in training, which is a tribute to his desire to feature as soon as possible.'