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stopped from playing for his country

Not Permitted to Play For His Country

 There will probably be no spectacular retaliation by the English F.A. regarding Everton's announcement that Sergt. Mercer will not be available for the England-Wales match because they are meeting Liverpool in the Lancashire Cup semi-final. It is not the time for football squabbles and I shall be surprised if the F.A. do anything that will throw further limelight on any Army player. Such a step would be deprecated by the military authorities, whose sympathetic attitude towards the release for matches of enlisted footballers is a thing to be valued. Everton's attitude may be unpalatable to the F.A. but there is not likely to be any sensation. As there has been a deal of misapprehension one or two points may be cleared up. The F.A. asked every club with a chosen player whether the man was available and willing to play. Available may mean - Can he leave his work or duties to get to Wembley? Everton's interpretation - that the club had a match and he would be required for it - could be challenged by the all-powerful F.A. under Rule 41, which covers both clubs and players, when it lays down that men chosen must play for their country. It is, of course, still operative.

BETTER CLAIM A third party has first claim on Mercer, however, seeing he is a soldier. This is his C.O., whose permission the P.F.A. duly sought. Another point: As the F.A. suspended players' contracts, and the clubs are paying them no wages - only match fees - a player is not tied to a club. He must have the consent of the club holding his registration before he can assist another club in the English and Scottish regional League and Cup competitions, but otherwise can play where he chooses. Actually, therefore, neither Everton nor any other football league club can prevent a player appearing in either a friendly or an international.

Source : The Press and Journal Wednesday April 3rd, 1940