Players on strike

PFA chief: Striking players would breach contract

August 25, 2010
By Harry Harris, Football Correspondent

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has said that any player who refuses to play for his club would be in breach of their contract.

Javier Mascherano
GettyImagesThe end of the road for Mascherano at Anfield?

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Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano and Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic were both reported to have gone on strike ahead of potential transfers, but Begovic has been in touch with the PFA and says there was a misunderstanding.

Taylor revealed that the PFA have been involved in talks regarding the goalkeeper at Stoke and claims that reports both players are on strike are wide of the mark.

"From the enquiries we have made it appears the player has made it clear he is not in the right frame of mind because he wants a move, and this has upset his club, quite naturally,'' Taylor told Soccernet. ''The same appears to have occurred with Mascherano."

With the revelations surrounding the Stoke goalkeeper, Taylor admits that players' agents are the source of the pressure and that if a player does strike, he runs the risk of not being paid.

''It is prevalent that pressure is brought by agents to tell players not to play, to push through their transfers, but refusing to play is not a tactic that the players' union could possibly condone,'' Taylor said. ''Players who refuse to play leave themselves open to accusations of breach of contract and would therefore risk not being paid.

"I would look at the way James Milner conducted himself. He was fully aware of the interest in him by Manchester City and he wanted to go, but he opted to play his best for Villa, scored, Villa won, and he left on good terms and with good grace with his head held up and able to return to the club one day.

"That is how we would like players to conduct themselves in very delicate circumstances. Of course players and managers and the clubs have to sort these problems and not everything is clear cut, so it's hard to pre-judge anything without knowing all the facts.

''But with the transfer window closing in a week's time the pressure is mounting on players who are seeking a move, and if players blatantly refuse to play, they are in breach of contract. If players or clubs need our help in these situations we are more than willing to do so.''