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Webster awaits ruling before sealing move to Wigan

By Phil Gordon
ANDY WEBSTER’S departure from Heart of Midlothian will almost certainly take him to Wigan Athletic after the Barclays Premiership side confirmed yesterday that they intend to sign the Scotland defender once his exit from Tynecastle has been agreed by Fifa.

The 24-year-old has been an outcast at Hearts since last April and is hoping to exploit article 17 of Fifa’s transfer regulations, which allows him to quit Tynecastle for another club outside Scotland providing adequate notice of his intention has been received.

Having stated to the Edinburgh club his desire to leave at the end of last season, Webster now believes it is down to Fifa to determine what compensation Wigan must pay Hearts for him, even though the Scottish side have not agreed to the transfer.

Webster’s Tynecastle future has been in doubt since talks over a contract extension broke down at the end of last season. He has not played for the club since April and failed to report for the pre-season tour of Austria, despite being warned he would never play for Hearts again.

Although Wigan were not party to Webster’s decision to effectively hand in his notice, they are thought to have taken advice from Fifa on the matter and believe they will not have to pay anything like the £2 million Hearts are looking for.

The former Arbroath player’s future is now in the hands of the world governing body. Brenda Spencer, Wigan’s executive, believes it will be a test case. “This is a new kind of Bosman if you like because Andy is hoping to be the first player to move before the end of his contract using the new Fifa rule,” Spencer, who was in Edinburgh to talk with Webster yesterday, said.

“We have had to deal with legal departments and consultants who are experts in European player issues but, hopefully, the matter will be concluded soon. It has been a very complicated process but this will be a unique transfer.”

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