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Chris Johns awaiting Linfield move as Irish FA consider options over pre-contract agreements

 

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Coleraine goalkeeper Chris Johns has agreed a moved to Linfield, Sunday Life Sport understands.

Coleraine goalkeeper Chris Johns has agreed a moved to Linfield, Sunday Life Sport understands.

Coleraine goalkeeper Chris Johns has agreed a moved to Linfield, Sunday Life Sport understands.

The Irish FA is working feverishly on a solution to prevent players playing for one club while being paid by another if and when the current season resumes.

Such a bizarre scenario is just one of several possible outcomes regarding players who are coming out of contract in the summer and have signed pre-contract agreements with rival clubs.

Sunday Life Sport has learned there are four players who have signed pre-contract agreements to move from their current clubs to new clubs over the summer.

Linfield representative Jack Grundie has been particularly vocal in his quest for clarification on what could be developing into a very sensitive matter.

Sunday Life Sport reported in February that Linfield were in pole position to sign talented Coleraine goalkeeper Chris Johns when his contract ends at the end of next month.

It is understood 25-year-old Johns signed a pre-contract deal with the Blues and, under normal circumstances, would be preparing to join his new Windsor team-mates over the summer.

There were reports this week that Coleraine were in talks with the respected keeper to keep him at The Showgrounds, but Sunday Life Sport understands Windsor Park will be his home next season.

However, Johns has given Oran Kearney his word that he will finish the season with Coleraine and see his current contract out - if the season resumes.

Sunday Life Sport has been told that an accommodation will be reached to allow Johns' contract to be extended at Coleraine, should the season resume.

One of the scenarios that the IFA's Player Registration Sub-Committee is trying to avoid is the prospect of Linfield paying Johns' wages while the player finishes the season with Coleraine.

"There are a number of possibilities regarding those players who have signed pre-contract agreements with other clubs," said an IFA insider.

"The sub-committee is looking at issues such as that right now, and how football contracts stack up against employment law.

"Not all but most players who are out of contract this summer, will see their current deals expire at the end of this month, so we really need to sort it out before June 1."

Belfast Telegraph