September 7 – In a potentially far-reaching move that has been debated for months, English Premier League clubs have voted to close the summer transfer window before the first game of next season.
The 2018-19 window will close on Thursday August 9, two days before the league campaign – but only applies to buying players.
Clubs will still be able to sell to other leagues across Europe whose transfer windows remain open later into August and September.
The transfer window for English clubs below the top flight remains unaffected until and unless the Football League decides to follow suit.
Unconfirmed reports say today’s ruling was not unanimous but that the change received the required two-thirds majority of 14 clubs. Five clubs apparently voted against the move and one abstained.
Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore told Sky Sports News: “There was a big concern that the Premier League has been playing two or three match rounds with a degree of uncertainty between themselves.
“It wasn’t unanimous but nobody was pathologically angry about the situation. But there were some concerns by some clubs that, although they wouldn’t be able to buy any more players, their players could still be picked off by those who haven’t closed their windows. It just meant they couldn’t support it.”
The change means that in theory clubs will have a far more level playing field going into the season and far fewer unhappy players. Currently allowing players to move once the season is under way can cause unwanted instability and disrupt preparations.
“The clubs just think it’s wrong that, going into the first game of the season, they could be playing against a player that, a few weeks later, could be playing for a different club,” said Scudamore.
For the past 15 years, the summer window closed on or around August but starting next year, Transfer Deadline Day will be in early or mid-August, depending on the start of the season – August 9 in 2018.
As Premier League club bosses prepared to vote, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said he supported the concept of shortening the window.
“I am aware there are serious discussions around Europe regarding the shortening of the summer transfer window and we are following them closely,” Ceferin told The Times.
“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.”
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