Legal Case: Wayne Rooney

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Coursework Assignment: ULMS721 Football and the Law

Legal Review:
Proform Sports Management Ltd v Proactive Sports Management Ltd and another Minor – Contract – Necessaries – Footballer entering into agency agreement with claimant – Footballer being minor at time of agreement – Footballer giving notice of termination of agreement – Claimant alleging defendant inducing breach of contract – Defendant seeking summary judgment on ground that contract voidable – Whether contract falling within class enforceable against minor [2006] EWHC 2812 (Ch), (Transcript: Cater Walsh Reporting) 26 JULY 2006 T King QC for the Claimant V Joffe QC and D Casement for the Defendants Quinn Barrow; Halliwells LLP JUDGE HODGE QC (sitting as a judge of the High Court)

Student Number: 200665961 Course: MBA Football Industries Date: 17th May 2010 Word Count: 1500

Case Summary In a high court case involving footballer Wayne Rooney's former management company, the claimant (Proform Sports Management Ltd), issued proceedings against the first defendant (Proactive Sports Management Ltd ) and second defendant (Mr Stretford) alleging that they had induced the player to breach his contract with his former agent. However, Judge Hodge considered the claimant's case to have no real prospect of success and gave the summary judgement to the defendants. Case Facts The claimant (Proform) entered into an agreement with 15 year old footballing talent Wayne Rooney (D.O.B. 24/10/1985) -who was already involved with Everton FC- on December 12th 2000. The terms of the agreement, which were also signed by Mr. Rooney’s father, declared that Wayne Rooney was not permitted to negotiate playing contracts or appoint another agent to represent him. In May 2002, the claimant declined the opportunity to allow the second defendant (Mr Stretford) or on behalf of the first defendant (Proactive) to represent his client in any form. On June 27th 2002, a letter sent to the claimant signed by the player and his parents, intimated their desire not to renew the representation agreement at the end of the two year contract. Then, on September 13th 2002, after receiving legal advice, the player and player’s parents wrote to the claimant noting that the agreement had been terminated, on account of the agreement being voidable due to the fact that Mr Rooney had been a minor when he signed the agreement. The player signed a representation agreement with the defendants on September 19th 2002, but 24 hours later, the defendants decided to defer until Mr Rooney’s original contract with the claimant had expired on December 11th 2002.

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Case Issues The main issues of the case were whether the contract was voidable due to Mr Rooney being a minor when the agreement had been made and whether the defendant could be held liable for procuring the agreement even if the contract had not been avoided. In addition, it was contended that the contract between the claimant and the player did not fall within the class of contracts which were enforceable against a minor, as it made no provision for the training, education or instruction of the player. Furthermore, it was necessary to evaluate whether the defendant could seek a summary judgment on the grounds that the contract was voidable. Previous Acts and Cases Before 1969 a minor (infant) was considered to be a person under 21 years (Infants Relief Act 1874), but as a result of Section 1, Family Law Reform Act 1969, a minor is regarded as a person under 18 years. With respect to breach of contracts, in the case Greig v Insole, World Series Cricket Pty Ltd v Insole [1978] 3 All ER 449, [1978] 1 WLR 302, the ruling stated that if a third party induced a person to exercise a lawful right to rescind a contract, it would not constitute a tort. In the case of Shears v Mendeloff (1914) 30 TLR 342, the court ruled that a minor's trading contracts are not binding on him, even if a minor’s trading contract is beneficial, it is not binding. However,...
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