FIFA is finally ready to impose limits on the number of players clubs can send and borrow internationally, two years after new rules were delayed by the pandemic.
FIFA’s plans presented on Thursday are aimed at preventing wealthy clubs from hoarding players they have signed, encouraging the development of their young talent and promoting competitive balance in football.
However, the restrictions due to come into force in July are limited in scope – players aged 21 and under are exempt from FIFA rules – and require further cooperation from national football associations to adopt their own measures.
EIGHT PLAYER LIMIT
Clubs will be limited to a maximum of eight players on loan and eight players on loan at any one time during the 2022-23 season.
The quotas will be reduced to seven in the following season and to six from the season starting after July 1, 2024.
Clubs will also be limited to the number of deals they can make with a preferred commercial partner in another country: three players in and three players out at any given time with the same club.
Short-term transactions should also be prohibited. The minimum loan deal will be between two transfer windows – usually in January and June-August during the European off-season – and the maximum period will be one year.
The sub-loan of a player already on loan will be prohibited.
FIFA said its proposed rules did not apply to players aged 21 and under and club-trained players.
This means that a club with a well-stocked academy like Chelsea could send an unlimited number of local teenagers wherever they want.
FIFA rules also apply internationally, to cross-border agreements between clubs from different countries.
In each FIFA member country, the application and enforcement of a separate set of rules could be lagging behind.
“At national level, FIFA member associations will be given three years to implement the rules of a loan system in line with internationally established principles,” the Zurich-based governing body said.
FIFA has been working since 2017 to find ways to modernize and clean up the player transfer market, which involves thousands of transactions and is worth billions of dollars each season.
Among the concerns – wealthy clubs are hoarding players who have reduced the pool of available talent and controlled access to it for less wealthy rivals seeking loan deals.
The FIFA Stakeholders Committee proposed new limits to the loan system in 2020 which were to apply later in the year and would be staggered over three seasons. The pandemic has put that on hold.
On Thursday, FIFA said the proposed loan scheme would be presented at its next ruling council meeting, likely in March, and seek international agreements from July 1.
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