FIFA recommends changes to transfer window, player contracts

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FIFA have been working hard to put in place new rules during the coronavirus pandemic and the upcoming transfer window and new player contracts are at the forefront of it.

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The governing body of world soccer formed a task force to cope with the outbreak of COVID-19 admitted that “it is now obvious that the current season will not end when people thought it would” and that transfer windows can be changed to fall between the 2019-20 season ending and the 2020-21 starting.

Current player contracts can also be extended to cover the time period of the current season, as many players across the planet were due to be out of contract on July 1.

Here is the breakdown of the key points published by FIFA:

  • It is proposed that contracts be extended until such time that the season does actually end. This should be in line with the original intention of the parties when the contract was signed and should also preserve sporting integrity and stability.
  • FIFA will be flexible and will allow the relevant transfer windows to be moved so they fall between the end of the old season and the start of the new season.
  • A similar principle applies to contracts due to begin when the new season starts, meaning the entry into force of such contracts is delayed until the next season actually does start.
  • FIFA strongly encourages clubs and players to work together to find agreements and solutions during the period when football is suspended.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino released the following statement as the main points centered around clubs and players working together to find solutions.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly changed all the factual circumstances around football for this season. So, FIFA, together with the stakeholders, has come up with some practical ideas and proposals to tackle these new circumstances,” Infantino explained. “Whilst this will not solve each and every problem, it should serve to bring a measure of stability and clarity to football for the foreseeable future. We hope that this collaborative effort, under the leadership of FIFA, can provide a positive example of how football can come together and show unity, solidarity and a spirit of compromise in order to face the challenging times ahead. But before these times come, one thing must be clear to everyone, especially now: health comes first, well before football.”

This is pretty monumental from FIFA and allows a lot more flexibility for players and clubs but also throws up plenty of interesting situations as players set to leave clubs this summer (Hakim Ziyech from Ajax to Chelsea for example) will now remain with their current teams for longer than expected.

The relevant governing bodies across the globe still need to agree to these recommendations, as UEFA and the Premier League can vote and agree to implement these recommendations or reject them.

But there is now a framework in place from FIFA which states that players contracted until July 1 2020 can now have their contracts extended until whenever the 2019-20 season is completed and that the transfer window should open when the 2019-20 season ends.

If there is just a short break between the 2019-20 season ends and the 2020-21 campaign begins, that could be one heck of a transfer window.