Football: EPL buys to stop before season begins

EPL managers like Manchester United's Jose Mourinho and Arsenal's Arsene Wenger backed the idea before the decision was made.
EPL managers like Manchester United's Jose Mourinho and Arsenal's Arsene Wenger backed the idea before the decision was made.PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP

LONDON • English Premier League (EPL) football clubs have agreed to close the summer transfer window the day before the start of the 2018-19 season.

This means that they will not be allowed to register any new players after 5pm British time on the Thursday before the season-opener.

The vote at a meeting of top-flight clubs yesterday, which was not unanimous, followed weeks of debate about the uncertainty and disruptions caused to managers and players by three weeks of transfer activity and speculation at the start of a new campaign.

However, the decision also means EPL clubs will not be able to buy players when their season is under way, while other European leagues will continue to permit transfers until Aug 31, including purchases from the EPL.

The number of clubs which wanted the change was not disclosed but at least 14 of the 20 must have voted in favour of the move in order for the new ruling to take place.

The EPL issued a statement saying: "Premier League clubs have today agreed to a rule amendment that will see the summer transfer window in any year end at 1700 on the Thursday before the start of the season.

"The first transfer window in which this applies will be the summer transfer window in 2018 and it will close on 1700 on Thursday Aug 9, 2018.

"This new rule applies only to the acquisition of players. Clubs will still have the ability to sell players to other leagues in which the transfer window is open."

Closing the window before the start of the domestic season would avoid the situation that arose when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played in Arsenal's 4-0 away defeat by Liverpool and then joined the Merseyside club less than a week later.

EPL managers like Manchester United's Jose Mourinho and Arsenal's Arsene Wenger backed the idea before the decision was made.

"As a football manager, I would prefer the window to close as soon as possible, so everyone knows the players they will have, the business is done earlier, and nobody is waiting until the last week," Mourinho said last month on United's official website.

"Then we wouldn't have the situation where a player plays game one for one team and game two for another team."

Transfer windows in Europe generally run from the start of June to the end of August, with a shorter mid-season window in January.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2017, with the headline 'EPL buys to stop before season begins'. Print Edition | Subscribe