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20th Jan 2022

FIFA introduce new limitations to loan systems, including max loans per season

Daniel Brown

Bad news for Chelsea

FIFA have announced new limitations to loan systems which will limit clubs to just six loan exits each season.

Football’s world governing body is keen to prevent clubs from stockpiling young players and then loaning them out, with a number of Premier League clubs set to be hit hard by the new measures.

Take Chelsea, for example, who currently have 11 players listed as being loaned out, which includes Conor Gallagher, who is performing incredibly well at Crystal Palace and Billy Gilmour, who is on loan at Norwich City.

Such is the the size of the loan market in modern football, that several teams even have loan officers to oversee deals between clubs when it comes to agreeing a transfer.

While FIFA’s rules on an international level will help to crackdown on foreign deals, member associations will be given a period of three years to implement rules for a revised loan system.

The governing body said: “At domestic level, FIFA’s member associations will be granted a period of three years to implement rules for a loan system that is in line with the principles established at international level.”

The new rules are set to come into force on July 1, 2022 – and if they receive approval, there will be a transitional period to allow clubs to adjust to the guidelines.

However, the maximum of six players loaned out will be implemented by 2024, with Premier League clubs needing to abide on both an international and domestic level.

FIFA added: “Objective is to develop young players, promote competitive balance and prevent hoarding.

“Following the decision passed by the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee last year, the new regulations concerning loans of players in international football are now ready to be implemented. They will be submitted to the FIFA Council for approval at its next meeting with a view to their entering into force on 1 July 2022.

“The introduction of a new regulatory framework for player loans is another important step in the context of the wider reform of the transfer system, the process of which began in 2017. Initially planned to start in July 2020, the implementation of the new rules had to be delayed as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As reported by the Mirror, discussions with the different stakeholder groups have implemented the foundations for this new framework, ensuring that the new rules are firmly focused on the following core objectives: Developing young players, promoting competitive balance and preventing the hoarding of players.

In order to ensure that the objectives are met, the new regulatory framework will include:

  • The requirement of a written agreement defining the terms of the loan, in particular its duration and financial conditions
  • A minimum loan duration, being the interval between two registration periods, and a maximum loan duration, being one year
  • A prohibition on sub-loaning a professional player who is already on loan to a third club
  • A limitation on the number of loans per season between the same clubs: at any given time during a season, a club may only have a maximum of three professionals loaned out to a single club and a maximum of three professionals loaned in from a single club
  • A limitation on a club’s total number of loans per season. To ensure that this is implemented smoothly, there will be a transitional period as follows:
  1. From July 1 2022 to June 30 2023, a club may have a maximum of eight professionals loaned out and eight loaned in at any given time during a season
  2. From July 1 2023 to June 30 2024, the same configuration applies but with a maximum of seven professionals
  3. Finally, from July 1 2024, the same configuration will apply but limited to a maximum of six professionals

However, players aged 21 and younger and ‘club-trained’ players will be exempt from FIFA’s new limitations.

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