Motherwell manager Graham Alexander calls for overhaul of the rules of Scotland’s pre-contract deal

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MOTHERWELL director Graham Alexander has called for the rules on pre-contractual agreements in Scotland to be reviewed – and admitted he favors the English system.

Alexander confirmed earlier this month that his striker Tony Watt, the Premiership’s top scorer this season with nine goals, is expected to join Dundee United at the end of the 2021/22 campaign.

He has stressed that he will continue to play the forward in the second half of the season if no fees are agreed between Fir Park’s little one and Tannadice’s outfit during the January transfer window.

However, the former Scotland defender, who spent his entire playing and coaching career in the south before moving to Motherwell last year, admitted he was uncomfortable with the setup of this country.

The FA only allows footballers to sign pre-contractual agreements one month before their agreements expire – which is usually at the end of June – so they don’t face the club they are going to join this summer.

Alexander – whose Motherwell side are currently six points ahead of United in the Premiership and strive for a place in the UEFA Conference League – believes England’s system is much better.

“It’s a strange situation, the pre-contractual thing,” he said. “You don’t meet that in England – players signing pre-contracts and being able to play against the team they join in the same league.

“Personally, I think this is something that needs to be looked at. I don’t think it’s fair but it is, so we have to deal with it and we try to deal with it in the best possible way.

Alexander has said Watt will only be allowed to move to Tannadice this month if United come up with an offer that matches Motherwell’s assessment of the former Celtic and Scotland forward.

“They spoke to Alan Burrows, our managing director, to discuss Tony’s situation once the news broke,” he said. “Alan was candid with them and painted the picture for what it is – which is to say that we are in no rush to let Tony go.

“He’s under contract until the summer and he’s the Premiership’s top scorer. He’s played all of the games except one for me during my year in charge, so he’s a valued member of our team and our squad.

“If anyone wants to take him this month, there is a premium to pay and it is the same for all players at the club.”

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