Football League clubs support transfer window deadline changes

Norwich City attended a Football League meeting on Thursday that has agreed to vote on plans for an

Norwich City attended a Football League meeting on Thursday that has agreed to vote on plans for an earlier summer transfer deadline. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Football League clubs have backed a vote on proposals to close the summer transfer window before the start of the league season.

The issue will now be put to a formal vote in February 2018, following a meeting attended by representatives from all 72 clubs at Villa Park on Thursday.

The Premier League have already voted to make a similar change and the Football League will look to adopt the plan for 2018/19. In addition, EFL clubs would still be able to sign players on loan until after the league programme has started in early August, until the traditional August 31 transfer deadline.

“This was all about understanding a direction of travel in what is a hugely emotive matter not only for clubs and managers but supporters as well,” said EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey. “The clubs have been clear in their mandate and we will now go away and look to develop a set of proposals before moving this matter on to the next stage, which would be a formal vote in order to change our regulations.”

Figures released by the Football League revealed 25 incoming transfers (or 3pc of the overall total) took place between the start of this 2017/18 season and the August 31 deadline, while there were 26 (10pc of the overall total) outgoing transfers in the same period that is now subject to review.

Regarding standard loans, 102 (or 47pc of the overall total) occurred in the period between the start of the current season and the closure of the transfer window, of which just over half were completed on the final day.

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Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke admitted earlier this week he would be in favour of closing the transfer window before a ball is kicked.

“I’m used to this, rumours and some stress in August, so I’m used to handling it but I would prefer to close the window earlier,” he said. “Sometimes there are really bad topics like a player doesn’t want to play, so in general I think it would be a good thing to close the window earlier.”

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Other items on the agenda discussed at Villa Park included the use of additional substitutes from the current three per game to four or five, but clubs declined to explore that area further at the current time.

There was also clarification on the topic of fielding full strength teams at critical parts of the league season. Clubs were asked to support the implementation of guidance on the basis: ‘From the fourth Thursday in March, any team sheet for a League game should include at least 10 outfield players who featured on the team sheet for the League game before.’

A formal vote will now take place in February on whether to adopt that guidance.

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