English Premier League: clubs vote to change next summer’s transfer window

By George Gros director and football intermediary of VII Law London United Kingdom

English Premier League Clubs on 7 September 2017 have voted – by a narrow margin – to close next Summer’s Transfer Window before the start of the 2018-2019 Season, following complaints from managers that signing players once the new season has got under way causes disruption.

Fourteen Clubs out of the twenty, the minimum required for approval of this change, voted in favour of this move, whilst five Clubs, Crystal Palace, Manchester City, Manchester United, Swansea and Watford, voted against the change and one Club, Burnley, abstained.

The Summer Transfer Window in Europe closes on 31 August, and, under the new arrangements, the English Premier League Clubs may continue selling players until that date, but the buying of players for the 2018-2019 season will end on 9 August 2018 at 17 00 hours BST.

European League Clubs will continue to be able to buy and sell players up to midnight CET on 31 August.

The changes do not affect the English Football League’s Clubs, although they are expected to follow the English Premier League’s example.

The English Premier League’s new Summer Transfer Window will finish earlier but start earlier to comply with FIFA’s rules which require a twelve weeks’ transfer period.

The idea behind the change is to introduce some clarity and certainty for players and clubs before the start of the new season, following the Philippe Coutinho transfer affair. As Arsene Wenger, the veteran Arsenal manager, has put it:

Are they in? Are they out? Will they be tapped up on the afternoon of the game?

And added:

It’s not the way to work?

The fact that European Clubs would have a wider opportunity to do transfer business is not seen, in the view of the Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, as being disadvantageous for English Clubs, explaining the situation as follows:

The risk is minimal and even those powerful clubs have to know if we can’t buy players we are not going to sell.”

Sir Alex Ferguson was also in favour of the Premier League change, remarking:

“……… close the window before the season starts, so everyone knows which players they’ve got and aren’t waiting to see what the first results are going to be.”

Certainty must be the name of the game! How else can one manage and run an effective and successful football team?

George Gros may be contacted by e-mail at ‘ggros@viilaw.com’