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Last Updated: Monday, 4 September 2006, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
Fifa allows Webster to join Wigan
Andy Webster handed in his notice at Hearts
Webster could not move to another club in Scotland
Fifa has given the green light for defender Andy Webster's historic move from Hearts to Wigan Athletic.

The Scotland centre-half had to wait for ratification after freeing himself early from his Hearts contract, using a loophole in a Fifa-adopted EU law.

Webster, 24, invoked article 17 of Fifa's rules governing transfers, which allowed him to join a club outside Scotland if adequate notice was given.

"I am relieved this issue is now almost resolved," said Wigan boss Paul Jewell.

"It has taken many long hours of negotiation for Andrew to become a player at this club, but I'm convinced all the hard work will be worth it once the supporters see him play."

I'm delighted my clearance has come through and I'm now looking forward to making my debut in the English Premiership

Andy Webster
Webster's move looks likely to set a legal precedent for the way transfers are conducted.

Fifa now allows players in the third year of a four-year deal to join a club in another country.

Webster had to hand in his notice within 15 days of the end of the season to comply with the regulation.

The player handed in his notice at Hearts at the end of last season and Wigan moved in, registering the transfer a month ago, but had to wait for the go-ahead from Fifa.

A forthcoming hearing will decide on a transfer fee, but the rule suggests that Hearts would only receive the player's annual wage by way of compensation, not the 2m transfer fee they want.

Webster was frozen out for the latter part of last season after refusing to extend his Hearts contract.

He had 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.

Webster said: " I'm delighted my clearance has come through and I'm now looking forward to making my debut in the English Premiership whenever I'm selected by the manager."

Wigan waiting for Hearts' Webster
18 Jul 06 |  Heart of Midlothian


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