Apprentice footballers

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    We have a claim from a person who is on a scholarship with our local football club. It is a condition of his agreement with the club that he has to live nearby unless already living locally. They also have to attend college to study for either A levels or a BTec in sport.
    The claimant does have a tenancy agreement with the landlady for the cost of the room only.
    A neighbouring local authority have granted HB to apprentice footballers under regulation 7(3) – i.e they have treated the apprentice as being a student who is liable to make payments for a dwelling he occupies for the purpose of attending his course of study/training.Not sure this applies to footballers on a scholarship programme?
    Are they eligible for HB.


    Not sure what 7(3) really has to do with it. That simply allows the LA to treat the property where there is liability as the home, where there is arguably another dwelling on which there is not liability. The key reg for eligibility is 56. Specifically, does the person fall within 56(1) or do they fall into one of the categories in 56(2)? Assuming they are under 21, I would think they fall into 56(2)(h). So, yes, they are eligible but not ‘cos of Reg 7(3).


    That’s 56 2 h

    Apparently putting an h in brackets gives you that funny little picture!


    I think that the neighbouring authority quoted reg 7(3) as it states where a single claimant is a student OR is on a training course and is liable etc etc.
    So they decided that he was on a “training course” and has 2 homes (the one he lives in to attend his football scholarship and his family home) and as he only pays rent on the home he occupies for the purpose of attending his “training course” he could be treated as occupying the dwelling where he makes the payments.
    I agree that under 56(2)(h) he is not classed as student who is treated as not liable to make payments What I am struggling with is – is the football scholarship classed as training for these purposes or as a football apprentice on a scholarship is he actually a student – he does get paid for this.

    Kevin D

    In my view the crux here is whether the lodgings form “…the dwelling normally occupied as his home”. If not, no HB.

    Based on the albeit thin info available, it seems the lodgings are merely the equivalent of B & B that contractors would occupy for 4/5 nights a week whilst working away from home. If that analogy is broadly reflective of the facts, I don’t think the B & B (or lodgings) counts as the dwelling normally occupied as the home.


    I can see that interpretation, but I was working on the basis that these apprentices are students because they are in non-advanced education as well as being apprentice footballers. I may have implied too strongly that 7(3) is completely irrelevant, which of course it isn’t if you treating these people as students who arguably have two places to call “home”.


    I think you’ll have to pay HB; the claimant will not fall into the definition of a student. I investigated this some years ago and decided it would be very difficult to decide there is no eligibility to pay HB. (There are previous threads on this subject if you want further info.)

    I disagree with Kevin on this one as based on my knowledge these players will be lodging every night (if not they probably should be!)- don’t forget they will playing ( or in the team squad)on a Saturday. And back training on Monday.

    Kevin D

    In fairness David, I did expressly make it clear the crux was “…whether the lodgings form ‘…the dwelling normally occupied as his home'” and even my conclusion was qualified.



    You might want to take a very close look at who provides the accommodation and the arrangements for payment of rent.

    We had a batch of similar claims that we decided were non-commercial and/or the liabilities were set up to take advantage of the HB scheme.

    The arrangement for payment of ‘rent’ turned out to be that the club reimbursed the landlord for ‘rent'(which was considerably in excess of money actually paid to the apprentices) -with the apprentice only being asked for reimbursement of this at some unspecified future date years ahead, and even then only if they were ‘successful’…the club just absorbed the cost of these ‘rental’ payments in most cases.

    The rooms that were let to the apprentices turned out to be in houses owned by employees of the football club (you might want to Google the name of the landlord or other liable parties on the Council Tax account and see what comes up….)

    You might also want to enquire about previous apprentices/ what happened in previous years for your current apprentices….I assume you haven’t paid HB before for this club and there is likely to be an annual intake of apprentices. These are likely to be receiving considerably less from the club than the cost of their accommodation so would have been unlikely to have been able to afford to pay the ‘rent’ previously….


    We have several apprentice footballers each year and have looked at all the evidence and have deemed that the apprentices all have a rent liability to their repective landlorda – room and board basis.
    The apprentices all earn about 60.00 per week from the club and have schooling provided.
    None of the apprentices parents are still in receipt of CB and we have made it clear to the club/apprentices that the parents should not be including the apprentices in any HB/CTB claim that they may have.
    The apprentices stay 7days a week at their ‘homes’ and take normal visits to parents as an when they can.
    We belive that their main residence is the ‘home’ they are living in whilst on their apprenticeship.

    Think asking all the relevant questions on the new claim appointment/assessment is crucial.

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