Whelan - Passports must change

30 October 2009 05:31
// A bit of a hack but it works// The article snippet is wrapped onto a second line, even when #article-sub is emptyif( $("div#article-sub").children().length == 0 ) {$("div#article-sub").remove();} Wigan owner Dave Whelan has called for players' passports to also include criminal offences in the wake of Marlon King's jailing.

The Latics supremo has already announced King will be sacked by the club once a mandatory notice period has expired following his jailing for 18 months for sexual assault and actual bodily harm.

But Whelan believes he would have stopped previous Wigan boss Steve Bruce from ever signing the striker from Watford in January 2008 had he known the full extent of King's criminal past.

Since the age of 17, the Premier League star has found himself in the dock on seven previous occasions involving 13 offences.

The offences include violence against women, dishonesty, drink driving and other motoring offences.

In the light of King's latest conviction, Whelan agreed a player's passport needed to be strengthened so that a club knew about his previous record.

"Well that's all recorded for injuries - so I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be recorded for a criminal offence, especially if he's been to jail," he told Sky Sports News.

Talk"I think we should talk to the union the PFA and we should sort of say 'Every player has got a passport, like he has got in health because if he comes to a club he has got a full record of his health and his injuries etc.'

"Why should we not have a passport where it shows this lad's record? Has he been a criminal, has he been in prison, what has he done, is he good enough (in character) to be a professional footballer?

"This is one of the greatest sports in the world and it is very, very public everywhere - I mean it is broadcast over the world - so I just think every player should have a passport of his record for health, in his injuries and also for his criminal record."

Asked how aware the club were of King's past history when he was taken on at Wigan, Whelan said: "Well I think it was Steve Bruce who signed the lad for us and I was a little bit surprised as I knew he had some form in the past.

"Steve sometimes thinks he can settle these lads down and get them to go on the straight and narrow.

"However this lad was out on loan to Hull when this happened - no blame or nothing to do with Hull City - he would have been in London had he been playing for Wigan or Hull.

"And I was really, really surprised when Steve went for him and signed him and we laid out £3million on this lad and obviously we've lost most of that money now.

Proud club"But as we say, we are a proud club. Professional football is a professional game, we have standards that we want to keep to and I'm sure every club in the premier league would have done exactly what I did."

He added: "Had I known his full record when we signed him I think I would have stopped Steve Bruce from signing him and we were not aware that what he was on charge for was such a serious offence and I was shocked yesterday when Sky News rang me and said 'Marlon King's got 18 months', I was really taken back, I was shocked.

"When he just enquired into it and found his past record was so bad I had no hesitation in sacking the lad, none whatsoever.

"I think have done the right thing."

King's agent Tony Finnigan believes the striker will get another club after his release from prison, as does Whelan, although he does not think it is right.

"If any club comes in after he comes out of jail and want to sign him, I don't agree with that either," he said.

"I think the FA here should have certain standards and step in and say 'you've got an 18 months sentence, when you come out you'll serve a further 18 months sentence of not being employed by any football league club'."

Source: SKY_Sports

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