Fifa has already got agitated about loans and did pass a vote to end of ’emergency loans’ in England by 2014/15. In the end that deadline went back one year to the end of the current season, and that rule looks to be fixed. So now the debate has moved on to non-emergency loans
To explain the two types of loan, the ’emergency loan’ system allows Football League clubs to take on loan players not receiving regular first team football, often to cover injuries, and it has always been an English thing. Very few, if any, other leagues use it. In November 2011, FIFA’s Players’ Status Committee found that the ’emergency loan’ system applied within the FA is not compatible with general principles of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players”.
FA Rule 6.6.2 allows clubs to make up to 12 ‘short term loans’ during a season and Section 52 of the Football League’s Regulations allow ’emergency loans’ outside of transfer windows. Fifa argued that “An ’emergency loan’ comprises all the elements of a ‘normal’ loan”, and so “is subject to the same rules as apply to the transfer of players”.
Then in 2013 the Football League closed the loophole that allowed Watford have 14 players on loan in the previous season – including 10 from Udinese. The League voted to ensure overseas loans were treated in the same way as domestic loans with five loan players in any match squad, and only four from one club in a season. (This was the same meeting as where sell-on fees were limited to 50% of the amount received.)
|Most emergency loans last season|
|Championship:||Blackpool (8), Rotherham (6), Brighton, Ipswich (5)|
|League One:||Colchester, Yeovil (10), Notts County (8), Oldham (7)|
|League Two:||Tranmere (12), Accrington (10), Hartlepool (9)|
159 Premier League players are now out on loan in a total of 15 countries and once again Chelsea is the clear front runner… (figures are from the Guardian).
|Total loanees this season|
Quite what this means on a club by club basis is unclear – at least to me. Having watched the career of Zelalem develop with much interest I see his loan move to Rangers as being a welcome further state in his development, playing in a tough league, and keeping himself strengthened for his undoubted arrival back in Arsenal’s first team.
But why do Stoke eschew the system – or is it no one wants to take their men on loan. Or is the squad too small? Why have Tottenham only five out on loan – is it that their youth system is not producing players who can benefit from a year away with another club? Or do they feel the system doesn’t work? Or are the privations of building the new stadium already starting to be felt? Or…
(Incidentally the reason that Tottenham’s notorious offer to WBA for Berahino which involved paying over five years, undoubtedly relates to the cost of the stadium – it is the first real impact we have seen of this new project).
West Ham and Stoke are the only Premier League clubs currently with more loan players from other teams on their books, than loan players out with other clubs. That suggests some interesting financials I suspect.
Chelsea were top of the loan league last year, and this season a fifth of all loanee players from the Premier League come from Stamford Bridge. That is to say players costing Chelsea around £100m are now out on loan, mostly at Vitesse Arnhem.
But still despite all this youth investment the last player to come through the youth ranks at Chelsea and into the first team as a permanent fixture was John Terry. Courtois who joined Chelsea aged 19 and was immediately loaned to Atlético Madrid is sometimes quoted as a youth product, but I think that is pushing it. He had started playing in the first division of the Belgian league at 16).
The most popular location for loan players to go to is League One and Two, and the only country, as far as I know, where the loan system is as extensive as here, is Italy. Indeed Italy is the location of 13 Premier League players. Scotland and the Netherlands have 10 – but the latter is mostly made up of Chelsea’s players playing for Vitesse Arnhem.
|Total||To EPL||Eng. non EPL||Italy||Spain||Germany||France||Turkey||USA|
Man City, being part of a worldwide franchise, have loaned two to New York City FC, and this will grow as their owners buy more clubs. Watford have Gino and Giampaolo Pozzo’s links (between them they own Watford, Udinese and Granada) allowing them a fairly free, although now ultimately limited, interchange of players.
Overall, the system is becoming messy, now that it includes the permanent links between clubs around the world. Fifa don’t seem inclined to deal with that, and so it would seem likely Man City’s links with the USA and Australia will expand further, and Chelsea might in the end not be happy with just one loan club. Indeed we could see Arsenal return to this approach, having done it before with KSK Beveren. Maybe a club in France?
(Loan figures from the Guardian, Independent and the Telegraph throughout).
6 September 1958. Arsenal beat Everton 6-1 away. Looking back it seemed like a freak result, until 15 August 2009. Herd scored four, Groves and Bloomfield the others. Amazingly three days later Arsenal beat Bolton by the same score – the only time this has happened in Arsenal’s history.
6 September 1986: Last game for Stewart Robson before moving on to West Ham and then Coventry City. In five years he played 150 times for Arsenal in the league scoring 16 goals.
The Untold Books