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June 2021

Loan contracts cannot be restrictive. Uefa ups its game.

Whisper it quietly and carefully, but it seems as if something is stirring within Uefa and Fifa.

This isn’t to say that they are transformed and reformed, and they are still intent on trading with the Slave State of Qatar, but there have been moves.

First the banning of Barcelona from making transfers, then the stories emerging that PSG and Manchester City are also going to get that treatment over their flagrant disregard of FFP.

And during the middle of all this, Uefa also confirmed that Chelsea cannot enforce the clause in Thibaut Courtois’s loan contract that states Atletico Madrid will have to pay a mega fee should the goalkeeper play in their Champions League semi-final meeting.  Uefa were unequivocal: the clause in the contract Chelsea arranged was  “null, void and unenforceable”.

They also said, “The integrity of sporting competition is a fundamental principle for Uefa,” which is a bit soppy, but still the point is made.

They went on, “Both the Uefa Champions League and the Uefa Disciplinary Regulations contain clear provisions which strictly forbid any club to exert, or attempt to exert, any influence whatsoever over the players that another club may (or may not) field in a match.

“It follows that any provision in a private contract between clubs which might function in such a way as to influence who a club fields in a match is null, void and unenforceable so far as Uefa is concerned.

“Furthermore, any attempt to enforce such a provision would be a clear violation of both the Uefa Champions League and the Uefa Disciplinary Regulations and would therefore be sanctioned accordingly.”

Now this is interesting, because it is commonplace for clubs that agree that a loaned player will not play against the team that loans him out.  Those contracts do not come under Uefa scrutiny, and by and large there is no sign of anyone challenging them, but they have always been questionable.

Now if any club does take a player on loan and suddenly does want to play him against his primary club, they could, and have no financial consequences.  Although of course the club loaning out the player would never loan the borrowing club a player again.

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The problem is however that young players do need to play – although because of the high level of injuries at Arsenal most people get a chance to play sometimes.

Indeed I was reminded by Drew at the West Ham game the way that the media and their followers in the AAA laughed a lot about Arsenal endlessly buying midfielders last summer.    Now of course we know why.  Indeed we only just scraped through.

But to return finally to Uefa, if Uefa truly is moving forwards, and does enforce FFP and does indeed join with Fifa in taking action against larger clubs, then it will be a great step forwards in a system in which some clubs have always thought themselves to be above the law.

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7 comments to Loan contracts cannot be restrictive. Uefa ups its game.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    How about no loans at all? There is no reason why a team needs to have 90 professional players on its books. I think professional teams could have a reserve team as a link between the 16 year olds and the 1st team but no more.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    And, if teams say that they need these huge squads to compete in 4 competitions then perhaps we have to revisit the number of competitions.

  • Which is to say that Arsene wenger is not mistaking when he first made such comment for FA to consider.professor wenger.

  • Menace

    The loan system can be made very simple.
    1. Clubs cannot loan players within the same division.
    2. Players must be allowed to play against their parent club in cup competitions.
    3. Clubs are only allowed to loan 5 players in their home country each season.

  • jayramfootball

    I am hopeful the tide is turning because it needs to. Left unchecked, cheats like Chelsea, City, PSG, Zenit will just buy up hundreds of players and loan them strategically to make it harder for their main competition. For instance City could in theory buy up 28 top quality players and loan two each to the clubs who finish 7th to 17th and the 3 promoted clubs. Those players could play against the other top 6 clubs but not against City. It could very well get to that level of cheating, as we know City have no class at all and would not hesitate to cheat using their finances in any way possible.

  • Mike T


    To be a cheat you have to break the rules nothing and I repeat nothing has Chelsea done broken any rules and that includes the Courtois issue. Something that I am told UEFA have become involved in based on a rumour rather than the reality of the situation.

    Irrespective the scenario you suggest would be cheating as its way outside the rules with regard to loan players.

    The loan system & third party ownership needs a total overhaul but the majority of clubs
    in the EPL would need to vote for change and that does not even seem to be on the cards

    @ Menace.

    I haven’t fully researched but I have a feeling that point two of your way forward is already in place. However I understand that the majority of clubs put restrictions in the loan agreement that forbids loan players becoming cup tied. Now if that isn’t influencing what players a team can select then I don’t know what does!

  • Menace

    @Mike, Cheating has several faces and not all break rules. The sporting spirit can be cheated by wealth ‘buying’ victories.
    Rules do not cater for everything. An example of unfair practice is the enforced leaving of the pitch after being treated. The perpetrator of the foul stays on while the ‘sporting’ team is punished. The Laws would be fairer if fouls put players out for 2 minutes more than the injured opponent.