It’s a make or break decision

Mark Stewart.
Mark Stewart.

The next three days could define Falkirk’s season.

And not only in the case of the match against Airdrie - where a negative result could suck the Bairns just four points from the bottom of the First Division and a win could take them fourth - but in terms of the first team squad.

Falkirk are still waiting to hear a definitive rule on their training compensation fee for Mark Stewart.

FIFA discussed the complex and long-running matter at a tribunal hearing in Zurich yesterday and have now said they will deliver a verdict within the next two weeks.

The striker moved to the Bantams in summer 2011 after progressing through the Bairns Academy which should entitle the club to a training fee calculated to be in excess of £270,000 according to FIFA directives.

However, an anomaly in the striker’s birthdate and differing season-end dates between Scotland and England’s football associations led to Bradford City challenging Falkirk’s right to the cash.

Falkirk forwarded the case to FIFA after bills from the Bairns and football’s governing body were disputed at Valley Parade.

Yesterday, 19 months on from Stewart’s switch to Yorkshire, FIFA discussed the case and will inform the Bairns of the decision.

A positive outcome could suppress the need for Steven Pressley to sell one of his first team squad to fund the club over the second half of the season.

“It is a very important day for the club. It could mean I have no pressure to lose one of the players - which is something which, ideally, I don’t want to do,” he told The Falkirk Herald.

“One positive is that if the ruling is in our favour – Bradford are not in the same position financially as they were when Mark moved there.

“Since the clubs first discussed a fee Bradford have had the cup run this season which has helped them financially.”

The Bantams qualified for the League Cup final after defeating Aston Villa 4-3 on aggregate. Reports yesterday suggested the win was worth more than £1m to the club – who let Stewart leave in June.