How much will Celtic pay Sheffield Wednesday for Liam Shaw and how is it calculated? Your questions answered

Sheffield Wednesday are set to lose their brightest young talent for a fee well below his value after 19-year-old midfielder Liam Shaw agreed a pre-contract deal with Celtic.

Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 6:00 am

Because Shaw is under the age of 24, the Scottish club will have to pay Wednesday a fee for the youngster, who has made quite an impact in the 17 matches he has played for his boyhood club.

The rules and regulations around such a move are fairly complicated, with the fee to be set by FIFA rules.

The Star spoke to Dr Dan Plumley, a football finance expert at Sheffield Hallam University, to unpack a few of the questions raised by the news.

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Sheffield Wednesday youngster Liam Shaw is Celtic-bound.

Remind us, what’s the latest?

In a nutshell, Liam Shaw is off to Celtic. The youngster has been in talk with the Scottish giants for several weeks now after he entered the final six months of his contract.

Wednesday tabled an offer and negotiations were understood to be ongoing, but last night Hoops boss Neil Lennon confirmed that a deal had been done.

Shaw remains eligible to play for Wednesday for the rest of the season and The Star understands he remains wholly committed to their relegation survival bid.

But it’s understood that Wednesday will receive around £300k for a player valued much higher than that, sparking outrage in the Owls’ support.

So, why so cheap? Aren’t these tribunal fees usually set somewhere in the millions?

They can be, but it all depends on where the two clubs are based. Remember the controversy over George Hirst’s move to Leicester City via Belgian side OH Leuven?

It was a manoeuvre that meant Wednesday received less of a compensation fee then if he’d gone direct to the Premier League club because of a difference in the rules when it comes to fees paid when a young English player coming to the end of a contract agrees a move another domestic club, as opposed to one in another country.. such as Scotland.

Over to Dr Plumley: “The difference here in that it’s a transfer from an English to a Scottish club, as opposed to it being English to English. It’s classed as an international transfer as the registrations are being passed from association to association.

“So in this instance the compensation fee is set by FIFA, whereas if it were between two English clubs, it would be agreed in-house by the Professional Football Compensation Committee.

“This is why the moves from England to Scotland have traditionally been cheaper for the buying club in terms of compensation than we would expect to see between two English clubs.”

What about some examples? Is there anyone we’ve heard of that was in a similar situation?

“The highest-profile move between two English clubs was Danny Ings,” Dr Plumley said, “who went from Burnley to Liverpool in 2015. The compensation fee was set at £6.5m by a committee.

“Moussa Dembele cost Celtic £500k from Fulham, and then there was a good example to compare Shaw’s situation with, a young English player from Charlton Athletic called Joe Aribo, who went to Rangers for £300k a couple of seasons ago.

“If Ings had gone to a Scottish club or another club abroad, the fee Liverpool paid for Ings would’ve been much closer to the fees Celtic and Rangers paid.

“The PFCC considers factors such as the player’s playing record, interest from other clubs, contracts on offer, any previous fees and the player’s age and time with the academy.”

How will Shaw’s fee be calculated?

The way FIFA do it is a lot more ‘set in stone’ than the UK-domestic tribunal-based model, Dr Plumley explains. “FIFA’s model, the one used in Shaw’s case, is formula-based and basically comes down to the player’s age, the date they joined the club and how they categorise clubs,” he said.

“The way that these clubs are categorised is down to the national organisations and they don’t publish them. The UEFA categories range from categories one to four and the fees range from €10,000 to €90,000 depending on the category, which would leave you to times that fee by the number of years he has been at the starter club.

“Liam Shaw is 19 and the clock starts when they’re 12, so that’ll be seven years. So the fee will certainly between €70,000 at the bottom end and €630,000 at the very top end. How Wednesday are categorised we don’t know and these fees far more often than not remain undisclosed.

“It’s been reported that the fee will be around £300,000 and, though there are a few unknown factors at play here, that doesn’t sound a millions miles off to me.”

This seems a good deal for Celtic. Are Wednesday being done here?

Put it this way, it’s not a deal that has fallen in Wednesday’s favour. “The fee will be significantly lower than a player of Liam Shaw’s talent would command in the transfer market and it’s also significantly less than he would command if he was moving by tribunal to another English club,” Dr Plumley said.

"There is a dispute resolution chamber, but only if it is felt the fee is very disproportionate and it’s very rare that things come to that.

“Scottish clubs seem to have targeted this route to young talent in the past, not only from clubs in England but everywhere across Europe. Given Covid and where we’re at, it’s another sign of a club trying to do deals as cost-effectively as they can, which could be another factor in this.

“It might be important to stress that this isn’t a regulation that’s been driven by Covid, it was there a long time before. But the finances of football are driving clubs to make these moves. If clubs can take advantage of these regulations, there’s no wonder that they’re doing it.”

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