Fifa rule in Black Cats' favour
By Steve Luckings
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The Black Cats were stunned when the Republic of Ireland midfielder's former club Celtic attempted to enforce International Football League Board rules after the 23-year-old headed for Wearside following the expiry of his contract during the summer.
They claimed Board rules state that compensation is payable for players aged 23 and under moving between English, Irish and Scottish clubs.
However, under the regulations of world governing body Fifa, the responsibility ends when a player reaches the age of 23.
Now Fifa have confirmed that they have jurisdiction and that no compensation is payable.
"We have received conformation in writing from Fifa, the international governing body of football, to advise that Fifa regulations do apply in the case of Colin Healy's transfer to Sunderland," said a club spokesman.
Sunderland had initially put the transfer on ice. However, with potential employers maintaining a watching brief, they decided to go ahead with it, confident all along that they were in the clear.
The delay meant that Healy missed the start of the season, but he has played in 19 of the club's Division One games since and has become a key member of Mick McCarthy's squad.
Fifa's ruling will come as a relief to The Black Cats, who released no fewer than 23 professionals during the summer as their dire financial situation took its toll following relegation from The Premiership.