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Fee secrecy needs to go after Fergie - fans have a right to know; SPORTS VIEW WEDNESDAY.

Byline: Anthony Haggerty

IT started out as a day of financial intrigue and ended with Aberdeen and Hamilton signing the equivalent of the SPFL's Official Secrets Act.

On Monday the value of Reds midfielder Lewis Ferguson was mulled over for what seemed like an eternity as the SPFL's three-person tribunal reached a verdict.

Aberdeen had offered their Premiership rivals PS100,000 for Ferguson in the summer. Hamilton wanted PS1.25million.

The two clubs couldn't agree a fee so it went to a tribunal. So far, so normal.

Then the episode took a bizarre twist.

The SPFL sent out word that while a decision had been taken and both clubs had been informed, the vital part - Ferguson's actual transfer fee - was to remain confidential to the parties involved and no further comment would be made.

Eh? Surely fans of both clubs had the right to know, particularly Hamilton's as they had developed the 18-year-old midfielder.

"How much was the Lewis Ferguson fee?" was the question trending on Twitter feeds in the hours that followed.

Surely the whole point of a tribunal is for both clubs to sit down and try to reach some amicable solution on the worth of the player - then make their findings public in the interests of transparency.

Accies chairman Ronnie MacDonald certainly thought transparency is needed.

He hit out at the tribunal process and said: "We believe the guidelines used in making today's decision should be made available for public and media scrutiny.

"Various reports have implied a low compensation figure would jeopardise our commitment to developing young players through our academy.

"The decision only makes us more determined to continue with our ethos of opportunity and to have the most productive academy in the country."

Well said Ronnie. No club in Scotland works harder on their academy than Hamilton.

They have reaped the rewards in recent seasons.

They recouped PS1.2m from Wigan for Republic of Ireland international James McCarthy in 2009.

They also scooped PS500,000 when James McArthur followed McCarthy to the Latics in 2010 then PS1m for Stephen Hendrie from West Ham in 2015.

MacDonald's thoughts on Ferguson were also clear.

"If we as a club are doing all this work to produce a Lewis Ferguson, who could be a once-in-10-years player, the valuation of him has to be realistic otherwise I'm going to think, 'Why am I bothering?" the Accies chief said last week.

In every tribunal process there are winners and losers.

Ferguson has enjoyed a fantastic start to his Pittodrie career.

I was privileged to be at Turf Moor this month when he scored a superb acrobatic overhead kick to equalise against Premier League side Burnley in their Europa League qualifier.

Ferguson executed the finish like it was the most natural thing in the world. As if he was having a kickabout down the park with his mates.

If there has been a better first career goal then I've yet to see it.

It is small wonder Aberdeen are delighted with the outcome of the tribunal.

Ferguson's true value? That remains something of a trade secret.

Although let's just say the Dons have around 220,000 reasons to be pleased with themselves.

our top writers give their fearless verdicts every day in record sport

It is small wonder Aberdeen are delighted with the outcome of the tribunal
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 22, 2018
Words:557
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