Transferdeadlines in the professional football more than ever up for discussion

Is the change of the transferdeadline in the Serie A and the Premier League kicked off for radical changes?

Kylian Mbappé celebrates with Edinson Cavani, Adrien Rabiot and Marco Verratti. After the transfer of Mbappé threatened UEFA with sanctions against PSG, but they are not yet come. © BELGAIMAGE

In the Serie A and the Premier League is this season broken with the tradition of a transferdeadline on 31 August. Although the change will be much commotion, they follow there is actually simply the recommendation for many years is registered in the FIFA regulations. The other European leagues will follow this example, not yet because there are also disadvantages connected to it. A harmonised system with a uniform transferdeadline prior to the competitiestart seems, however, desirable to be witness to sports law-lawyers, Sven Demeulemeester and Niels Verborgh of Altius.

What rules FIFA for transferperiodes?

Sven Demeulemeester: ‘FIFA is obliged to authorise national associations to provide two transferperiodes for profspelers. In Belgium, there are the well-known summer – and wintertransferperiodes. FIFA imposes only a mandatory duration of these periods, but the national associations are free to ‘in accordance with the specific voetbalvereisten of the country’ to determine when the transfer market opens and closes.


The question is whether the current transferperiodes in football a normal and legitimate course of the soccer leagues in the hand work.

Niels Verborgh, lawyer, sports law

“The first transfer, our ‘zomertransferperiode’, takes place after the football season and a maximum of twelve weeks. It is striking that FIFA maintains that this transfer would have to stop before the new season starts. In that sense, the recent modification of the deadline in the Serie A and the Premier League is actually a normal thing. Countries where the transfer market is still open after the competitiestart do not abide by the FIFA recommendation.

‘The second transfer, our ‘wintertransferperiode’, normally in the middle of the season and should not be longer than four weeks.

“Where an employee from other sectors, daily, employer, can change, can professional footballers this is a remarkable enough but for sixteen weeks a year. Unemployed players can still sign a contract with a new club.’

Can FIFA just one-sided restriction imposed on players?

Niels Verborgh: ‘Similar to the restrictions on the freedom of an athlete to an employment relationship to exist also in other sports. Jyri Lehtonen, a Finnish basketball player who came out for the Belgian club Castors Braine, moisture, such restriction ever to the Court of Justice of the European Union. However, the Court ruled that the restriction in his case was justified to a normal and lawful conduct of a sportcompetitie to guarantee.

‘However, the question is whether the current transferperiodes in football a normal and legitimate course of the soccer leagues in the hand work. Despite the recommendation of FIFA, the transferperiodes often not adapted to the competitieformat. Because the transfer market in Belgium for longer than a month after the competitiestart is still open, the teams will in the coming weeks thoroughly be shaken, and this while the competition is already in progress. Transfers during a running competition have an impact on teams. In other words: whether you like a particular team meets before or after the transferdeadline, can make a big difference, depending on the possible late transferactiviteit of that opponent. The comparability of the results of the clubs participating in the championship comes, therefore, in the jostling and such a practice, which is detrimental to a fair conduct of the competition, according to the Court of Justice to be prevented at all times. It is, therefore, the question of whether the current practice to the test of European law would be passed.

‘In the Premier League gave coaches already already known to be against the practice by which a player in the beginning of the league with a club record against any other club, while he was a few weeks later, the same club still can fight with an other club. Namely, with the club where he is after the commencement of the league was to be transferred.’

In the Premier League and the Serie A is made for a transferdeadline prior to the competitiestart. What does this imply in concrete terms?

Sven Demeulemeester: ‘From the season 2018/19 will the transfer market for the Premier League to close before the league starts. The transferdeadline for this season is postponed to 9 August. Clubs after that date are no incoming transfers to realize, unless it is a unemployed player would relate. Mutual spelerswissels after the start of the competition are not possible anymore. A case such as that of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain last season is avoided: the midfielder signed was for Liverpool a week after being with Arsenal 4-0, the boat was entered against the same Liverpool.

Outbound transfers to a foreign league where the transfer market is still open, are still admitted, to also in that country the transfer market closes. The advantage of this scheme is that even after the deadline of August 9, solutions can be searched for players with a little rosy perspective in the left of their club.

“The exception for outbound transfers does, however, mean that English clubs until August 31st, players can lose at, for example Spanish, German or French clubs. This explains why five Premier essentially a cove, including Manchester City and Manchester United, against the proposal voted in. The clubs in the lower English profdivisies joined the position to the deadline to bring forward, but they will still be able to see until August 31, 2018 players on a rental basis to contract.

Also in Italy, the zomertransferperiode close to the start of the league, namely on 18 August. It is striking that there is also the wintertransferperiode will be shortened. In Serie A ends, which is no longer on the 31st of January but on January 19, because on January 20, the winter break of three weeks, ends.’

Why are other countries not yet the English and the Italian example?

Niels Verborgh: “Not in all countries, the English and Italian solution support: if a national football association decides to transferdeadline to bring forward, this can the competitiveness of that league compared to foreign leagues affect. Some clubs shudder for a scenario in which outgoing transfers are possible at a moment that the incoming transfers are no longer allowed. If you are sterkhouder lose, you can no longer replace.

‘A similar situation occurs already for after the close of our wintertransferperiode. In some countries, such as Russia and China, are there other transferdeadlines. So lost to the Belgian club SK Lierse in full final run of the season 2016/17 with Ayub Masika one of her best players at the Chinese club Beijing Renhe, while the deadline for Belgian clubs to incoming wintertransfers to realize it was already expired. Lierse was the departure of Masika not catch and handle final next to the title. To such practices to avoid, seem to be uniform transferperiodes or desirable.

FIFA gives in her comments on the transfer rules that it strives to maintain uniform transferperiodes to great disturbances in the course of the competitions to avoid. But currently there is a lack of international uniformity, given the transferperiodes of various competitions are very different. Actually make the separate transferdeadlines for incoming transfers in the Italian and English league for a further fragmentation.’

What changes are there waiting for us?

Sven Demeulemeester: ‘The transferdeadline of August 31, originates actually from a time when competitions still not as early of a start, as is now the case. It is not inconceivable that the deadline of 31 August in the future will be anticipated. In addition, it would be desirable to evolve towards a harmonised system with a uniform transferdeadline prior to the competitiestart. However, this is not so obvious, taking into account the different start dates and competitieformats of the various national leagues.

‘UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin was already won for the English the initiative. Many countries also appear to be in favor, though they add, however, that an adjustment especially collectively needs to be done, so that countries that transferdeadline bring forward not in an unfavourable competitive position.

‘Also the wintermercato will possibly be transformed. Some even to the wintertransferperiode to be abolished, but this would be the freedom of the individual soccer player even further. Go there within FIFA votes on the number of incoming wintertransfers to reduce to a maximum of four transfers per club.’

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