Over a turbulent few seasons for Fulham, the clubs youth system has given the fans optimism for progression in the near future. In 2014 The Whites reached the FA Youth Cup Final winning the home leg 3-2, but suffered a 5-3 defeat at the hands of local rivals Chelsea losing the tie 7-6 on aggregate.
Spearheading that side was the dynamic trio of Moussa Dembele, Emerson Hyndman and Patrick Roberts. With a successful cup run under their belt, the trio was propelled to the limelight. Patrick Roberts joined Manchester City in 2015, after one season in Fulham’s senior team. The young midfielder has had a lack of game time, thus opting to go out on loan. Hyndman and Dembele departed this summer after the expiry of their contracts. With the young American making the switch to the south coast, joining Premier League outfit Bournemouth.
Moussa Dembele opted to join Scottish champions Celtic following interest from Tottenham, Arsenal and Galatasaray. The young Frenchman once again partners up with Roberts, who is currently on loan at Celtic Park.
The latest player to emerge off Fulham's conveyer belt of young talent is U16’s England international Ryan Sessegnon.
The youth prodigy who is a primarily a left back by trade has shown glimpses of an attacking prowess, with his ability to break down the wing at pace. Sessegnon also provides valuable coverage for the left midfield role and possibly could be utilised from that position in the future.
Sessegnon is currently in a position to become a club hero. At only the tender age of 16, he has already racked up an impressive 8 year tenure, signing for the clubs youth system at 8 years old back in 2008.
Sessegnon has adapted seamlessly into the first team, scoring twice so far this season and in doing so becoming the first player to score in the Championship born in the year 2000.
However Sessegnon’s fine form has brought with it the attention of Premier League teams.
The young full back is currently under a scholarship contract at Fulham. This will benefit Fulham in securing the players near future at the club.
What does a football scholarship consist of?
The rule books state that players of 18 years of age and younger cannot sign a contract surpassing a 3 year maximum.
This is where the football scholarship comes in. As a clubs youth player reaches the age of 14 they may be offered a 2 year scholarship under the discretion of the club. This must be signed by the player and also their parent/guardian.
When said player turns 16 years old, the football club will meet with the player and their parents to make a decision on the player's development under the youth program.
As the player partaking in the scholarship reaches the age of 17, the club once again will meet with the player with two options. The club will either suggest remaining on the scholarship or offer a written contract.
The scholarship may also only be engaged by a player under the age of 17.
The rules of the FA state that a player under 17 years of age may not enter into a contract of employment except under a scholarship and a player under 18 years of age may not enter into a full contract of employment.
For the full rule book relating to players at the official FA website.
Is there compensation fees on players under the age of 24?
In the circumstances that a professional under the age of 24 has been offered a new contract by their club, and they reject the offer in order to sign for another club, is when compensation will be owed to the current club.
In the majority of cases, clubs will reach a mutual agreement on a compensation fee. However, if on the other hand the two clubs valuations differ the case will need to be settled through an arbitration process.
In most cases clubs receive a basic compensation fee with further payments on the player’s debut, a certain numbers of first team appearances, and an international debut. It is also common practice to implement a sell on fee should the player be sold at a profit at any point in the future.
Can a player transfer/resign from a scholarship?
During your registration period you may only be released if all parties are in agreement (the Club, Academy Player and parents).
As an alternative, any party may ask the Football Disciplinary Commission (FDC) to provide a decision on the termination request by making a written application providing full reasons for the request.
For further information on Football League Contracts at there website
One more statement I would like to bring to light from the rule book is;
"Neither club nor any person shall induce or attempt to induce such a player on a scholarship to leave the club for which the player is registered’’
Although the rule book may be elusive, my best interpretation is as follows.
Under the act of scholarship agreement Sessegnon will remain at Fulham until he's 18 years old. However the club can allow the player to leave under mutual consent or if the club chooses to terminate the player's contract.
At 17, Fulham can offer him a written contract deal, which will hopefully entice the youngster to remain at the club before attempting to sign him to professional contract at 18.
Do you think Sessengnon will remain at Fulham past the expiry of his scholarship deal?
Tweet me your thoughts @Jamesede44