Hartlepool United boss explains details behind contract saga involving ex-Sunderland forward
Chris Maguire’s Hartlepool United contract is ‘off the table’ until a resolution to his pending FA investigation, according to interim manager Keith Curle.
The club held the first of two proposed fan forum events on Thursday with one of the standout topics of conversation surrounding the situation of Maguire.
Maguire was one of the final acts of the previous regime under Paul Hartley when joining the club on a free transfer following his exit from Lincoln City earlier this season having been suspended by the Imps after being charged with misconduct by the FA in relation to an alleged breach of betting rules.
But unfortunately, for both Pools and Maguire, the 33-year-old has been unable to feature for the club owing to injury and, more significantly, a number of issues surrounding contract negotiations between the club and the PFA as a result of that alleged breach.
The complex situation has been a notable subject for new interim boss Curle to address since his arrival, with the 58-year-old having been keen to seek clarity on the matter for a number of weeks.
And when asked by supporters at the fan forum event, both Curle and senior advisor Lee Rust gave the most detailed summary to date of Maguire’s current circumstances.
“This is a conversation I’ve had with Chris and his agent and the agreement that we’ve come to now is the contract is off the table and it’s going to be revisited after his pending alleged case,” said Curle.
“There’s been a lot of toing and froing but I spoke to Chris and his agent and said we need to come to an agreement whereby we sit down and have discussions where if you get charged and there’s a ban then do your ban and then we sit down with complete and utter clarity.”
Curle added: “Chris is down here, he’s living down here away from his family, away from his kids and unable to play and unable to sign a contract that’s been offered by the football club.
“We have a duty of care to the player and the welfare of the player so we just need to get everything out of the way and we’ll revisit it.
“It’s totally in the hands of the FA. There’s nothing that Chris can do, Chris’ agent, us as a football club or even the PFA, it’s down to the FA to set the date.”
Senior advisor Rust commented: “We got to an agreement with Chris under Paul Hartley. We agreed terms that went off to the EFL and then the PFA, ultimately, have to agree to contract changes and they came back and said that they were not accepting the changes in the contract template.
“The PFA have to agree any changes to a standard template and with Chris’ ban pending we’d agreed terms that reflected that potential ban, but the PFA turned around and said we can’t accept that change in contract template.
“So we’ve effectively entered a situation now where we haven’t got a signed contract.
“It can take a long time [to reach a conclusion],” Rust continued.
“Sometimes it can be settled very quickly, sometimes it can take six-plus months.”