KEIR RADNEDGE COMMENTARY —- Premier League clubs could take unilateral action to restrict their own spending by closing the summer transfer window before the start of the season next year, at least three weeks before the rest of Europe.
The current window closes on August 31, some three weeks after the start of the Premier League season but this could all change after a vote by the clubs (the EPL shareholders) on September 7.
A transfer window system had long been common on the continent before the revolutionary effects of the Bosman Verdict in December 1995 which scrapped arbitrary controls on player movement within the European Union.
With the European Commission threatening to scrap the football transfer system altogether, FIFA took over the negotiations which led to the current system: players may change clubs, fee-free, both at home and abroad on the termination of their contracts.
However, to maintain stability, restrictions were agreed on the number and general timing of transfer windows (two) in a year and the number of clubs with which a player could be registered in a year.
This was a compromise, imposed worldwide by FIFA for the sake of regulatory standardisation, and whose consequences were soon felt.
The scrapping of foreign-player limits prompted Italian, Spanish and English clubs in particular to vacuum up the EU transfer market and internationalise their squads.
However problems have arisen for clubs whose new season beginsbefore the close of the window with the attendant squad disruption. Notable current ongoing issues concern Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson and Everton’s Ross Barkley.
FIFA regulations state the transfer window should close by September 1, or as near as practical if it clashes with a weekend.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Swansea’s Paul Clement are the latest managers to query the way the system works, or does not and have suggested the window should shut before the opening Premier games.
The catch is that clubs from elsewhere in Europe could still sign players from English clubs in line with their own domestic deadlines.