Uefa chief backs EPL transfer window plans ahead of vote

LONDON • The president of Uefa has given his backing to the English Premier League (EPL) closing the transfer window before the start of the domestic season.

The chairmen of the 20 English top-flight clubs will vote today on closing the transfer window early and supporters of the change are confident of success.

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.

Asked about his view on the transfer window being shortened, Aleksander Ceferin, head of the governing body of football in Europe, said in an e-mail: "In my view, it is not good when footballers play for one club when the league starts and another club when the transfer window closes.

"There is a lot of uncertainty for a long time.

"Therefore I would say that the window might be too long and I would support it being shorter."

The change will need 14 votes from the 20 chairmen to go through.

The likely outcome is that the vote goes through, but it will perhaps initially run as a trial, with the league retaining the flexibility to return to the standard Fifa transfer window dates.

Opponents of the change argue that English clubs would be vulnerable to European rivals coming in for their players without being able to replace them.

However, one club chairman in favour of the change told The Times: "The (Philippe) Coutinho situation shows clubs really don't have to sell if they don't want to - we are a big league with big clubs."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the January transfer window must also be scrapped, as it leads unsettled players to focus on their next move rather than concentrate on playing for their clubs.

Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez and Liverpool playmaker Coutinho were among several players who failed to secure their desired transfers in the close-season window that ended last Thursday, and they could try again in January.

"The players who do not play or the players who are tapped up in October, they already start again to think: 'Where do I go in January?'," Wenger told beIN Sports.

"That's not a way to be on board with a football club."

He added that having a single annual transfer window at the end of the season would ensure complete focus from players during the campaign and restore the decency of the sport.

"The ideal situation would be to have a transfer period that is closed 48 hours before the first game of the championship and to close it completely until the season after," said the Frenchman.

THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2017, with the headline 'Uefa chief backs EPL transfer window plans ahead of vote'. Print Edition | Subscribe