Annual Retain list

This guidance sets out each of the steps your Club will need to take if it wishes to retain any of its current contract players for the 2024/2025 season. Please read the following notes in conjunction with FA Rule C. 


Retention Process 




Clubs should note the definition under FA Rules for the Re-Engagement Period, which states:  


  • the month of May in any calendar year or, if later, the seven-day period that follows the date of the Club’s last competitive first team Match. 


Any Offer of Re-engagement must be on the same or not less favourable terms as the player’s current contract (including all guaranteed payments, bonuses and benefits in kind – excluding once-only signing-on fees).  


Clubs should ensure they have current postal and email addresses on file for all existing players ahead of sending any Offer of Re-engagement notice. Postal addresses may differ from those detailed on the player’s contract, therefore Clubs should ensure they check the current address with the player. 


If posting, the notice should be sent by either special or recorded delivery whereby proof of posting may be obtained.  


If emailing, Clubs should obtain a written acknowledgment of receipt from the player, otherwise the retention may not be considered valid for the purposes of FA Rules. 


If you choose to deliver the notice by hand, you are advised to produce a copy of the offer and have this countersigned by the player to indicate receipt. Delivery of notice by hand should not be during the last competitive fixture of the Club’s first team. 


FA Rule C73 states: “In the event of a dispute concerning the validity of a Re-engagement Offer and/or a Contract Player’s acceptance or rejection of it, the burden shall be on the sender of the notice to establish that it was received by the other party within the applicable time period set out in these Player Status Rules.”  


In all cases, the Club must be able to prove receipt by the player in order to show compliance with FA Rules and protect any potential entitlement to compensation.  


Offer of Re-Engagement  

If a player’s contract is due to expire at the end of the 2023/2024 season and the Club wishes to make an Offer of Re-engagement, this must be on the same or not less favourable terms overall than those which applied during the initial period of employment (or the option period, if applicable). 


Within 28 days of receipt of the Offer, the player should notify the Club in writing as to whether or not he accepts.  


If the player rejects the Offer of Re-engagement within the 28 days, he is free to negotiate with another Club subject to the right of his former Club to claim a compensation fee if he is under the age of 24 prior to 30th June 2024.  


If the player does not reply to the Offer of Re-engagement, only after the 28 days have elapsed from receipt of the offer, can the player to negotiate with another Club. 


Exercising Options 


In line with FA Rule C33: ‘Where an Option is exercised, the Club must notify The Association within five days or by 1 June, whichever is sooner’ 


This can be done on any signed letterhead, issued by the Club at any point. Clubs can activate the Option by way of an Action Option on iFAS at any point in the season, or they can add the Activate Option via the annual Retain List on iFAS. 


When considering whether an Option is on the same or not less favourable terms, The Association will require 

that the annual value of the financial terms offered are at least equivalent to the most favourable terms to which the Player was entitled in any year of their current contract. Further, The Association will primarily consider (and give greater weight to) guaranteed payments under the contract and in the option clause. However, The Association may also take into account any reasonably achievable contingent payments in appropriate circumstances. 


An Option will be considered to be on the same or not less favourable terms where it provides for payment 

commencing from a different specified date as that under the current contract, provided that the effect of the 

Option/Re-engagement Offer is for the player to be paid for an equivalent period. This is to allow for the fact 

that the season start dates may differ slightly year on year. 


If an Option provides for payment to be reduced or suspended (for any reason) during the season, this will not 

be considered to be on the same or not less favourable terms where the current contract did not contain an 

equivalent provision. 


An Option can be for a shorter period than the term of the Playing Contract. 



In the event of a player, who is under the age of 24 prior to 30th June 2024, not accepting a valid Offer of Re-engagement and subsequently signing on contract or non-contract terms for a new Club in England, the two Clubs must agree a compensation fee. If the player has attained the age of 24 on or before 30th June 2024, no compensation fee can be claimed by the former Club. In addition, no compensation is payable if the player moves abroad. However, training rewards may be due in accordance with FIFA Regulations.  


If the two Clubs are unable to agree a compensation fee, the fee will be settled by an FA Compensation Fee Tribunal in accordance with FA Rules. Both Clubs must submit a non-returnable administration fee of £300, together with written details of the dispute and each Club’s valuation to be considered by the Tribunal. Please note that should a Tribunal be convened and determine that Clubs have not taken appropriate steps to try to resolve matters themselves, it may order the Clubs to bear the costs associated with determining the dispute.  


Subject to FA Rule K1, decisions by the Tribunal will be final and binding. Clubs are strongly encouraged to agree compensation fees without recourse to the Tribunal process. 


Should your Club require a Tribunal or wish to discuss the process, please contact the FA Player Status Department.


Please note that Clubs must process the Retain List via iFAS. Your completed list must be submitted by 1st June 2024 as per FA Rules. 

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