Ward criticises January transfer window ruling

COLCHESTER United boss John Ward says he is surprised no-one has challenged the validity of the January transfer window yet.

Football’s world governing body FIFA mandates that each national Football Association must have two registration periods – the first window opens at the end of the season and may not exceed 12 weeks, while the second registration period occurs during the season and may not exceed four weeks.

Colchester have already sold two players this month in the form of Marc Tierney (Norwich) and Paul Reid (Scunthorpe) in order to prevent them potentially leaving for nothing at the end of their contracts this summer.

“The whole thing is not very pleasant in my view,” said Ward. “People chase the cash rather than what it should be about and that’s looking after the player. To give clubs and players one month to do business is wrong and I’m surprised it hasn’t been challenged because no other business works that way.

“I don’t think I’m on my own saying this. It’s alright (Sunderland manager) Steve Bruce having his �18m pounds or whatever it is (for Darren Bent from Aston Villa), but he’d rather have a centre-forward. Last week he had one this week he doesn’t. Now he’s got two weeks to find another – well good luck Steve.

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“I just think it throws people into madcap decisions at times. Sometimes you get clubs making knee-jerk decision they may regret at some stage.

“There are people out there that pray on vulnerable situations to make money that goes out of the game – that’s agents I’m talking about, not all of them but some of them.”

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He continued: “Leave it open like it used to be. They’ve done it because it fits in with other countries but you just feel with all these things in the world today, with human rights and so on, that if someone was prepared to say ‘this is not right’ and was prepared to take it all the way they might be successful.

“I’m not interested enough to stop it and I can’t afford to do that, but like I say most managers I speak to are not in favour of it. It’s a crazy month.”

Ward, a committee member of the League Managers’ Association (LMA), added: “I think the League Managers’ can take it up but I also think the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) can take it up. They’re an extremely silent group of people at times but they’re the people that are effected most by it. The players themselves have got a very strong body of people and they’re the people that can’t move because of it.”

He added: “There are more and more players in the lower two leagues that are working on hand to mouth contracts, either year-to-year or even six-month short-term deals. I think that’s the area that gets overlooked because it doesn’t make the back pages. “We talk about the Sunderland move (Darren Bent) and the world goes ‘that’s ridiculous, twenty million pounds’, but underneath all that there are players not getting moved or having their contracts cancelled in the lower leagues that nobody takes any notice of.

“The lads at this level would find it better if they had a bit more freedom and so would the clubs as well.”

– For preview of Huddersfield v Colchester, see today’s EADT.

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