New restrictions on transfers will apply from January transfer window onwards

By Sir Hardly Anyone

You might have noticed from time to time that Untold is a trifle critical of other outlets (or drainpipes as we prefer to call them) in the way they handle their predictions concerning transfers for each “window”.

You will also recall that we currently have two players on our books who are not registered in the 25 player squads either for the Premier League or the Europa League, because we ended up with too many players and couldn’t persuade those two to leave permanently or temporarily on loan.

But these young fella-me-lads who make up the rumours keep on on keeping on as if there are no rules and so we get these wild and wacky tales each window.

However for the next window there will be a change for the United Kingdom has left the European Union, and thus the four parts of the UK are no longer bound by EU rules on transfers.  Unfortunately our government, the FA and the Premier League have forgotten to let us know what will happen in the next “window” which begins on Monday 4 January – closing or “slamming shut” as it goes in the trade, at 11pm on 1 February.

But a deal has been struck between the FA, and the League, with the UK government which is supposed to regulate immigration (that was part of the promise in relation to leaving the EU) not really having anything to do with it all.  Maybe they were too busy having an argument about what role Boris’ girlfriend should have in the next cabinet.

Anyway the result of the row between the FA and Premier League is a weird 15 point system in which each player gains a number of points for what he or she has done in the past.  And then, if that were not enough there is an “exceptions” panel so that others can come in through the back door at the same time.

How the points are gained has not been fully explained – but that of course is a mere detail.  What you “need to know” as the media loves to tell us is that players need 15 points to get in, but there will be an appeals procedure for young players.

Only one little hitch thus far, no one in the government has been available to give the OK to the deal, largely because they are still arguing about who does what.

Although the details are not at all clear, the most important thing is that this procedure has a name – we must call it the Governing Body Entry System, or GoBES.

The most obvious implication of this system is that entry of under 21s will also be restricted into the UK under the 15 point rule, while for the rest of the EU the current rules will remain, which means that under 21s can be bought and sold across country boundaries.   Only three under 21s from outside the UK can be purchased by each club in January 2021.

This means that Germany, which is already a magnet for under 21s will have even less competition from England.  They can buy and sell players within the EU freely, and then having bought the registration of players they can, as now, loan out the players to the less competitive leagues such as in the Netherlands and, Belgium, and indeed eastern European countries within the EU, so the youngsters can get full-blown competitive experience.

None of this will apply in England.  The one concession made by the Sweet FA is that under 21 year olds who have spent a year in what is designated a “top academy” will be given an extra three points.  A list of 66 clubs from around the world which have what are called a “top academy” has been drawn up including Arsenal.

As for the older players, things are not at all clear.  It seems that players who are making regular appearances for clubs in a designated top 50 list will automatically be able to be qualified with 15 points.  But for the rest of the points system, well, no one seems to be saying.

The number of non-UK players remains at 17 in each 25 person squad – but the exact details of how these points are to be allocated are not at all clear.

If you are a regular reader here you will know, Untold has shown all this is irrelevant in terms of helping England win things.  The key factor is the number of coaches with the top qualification – that accords directly with the success of countries in international competitions.  Because of the hopelessness of the FA, we remain way down near the foot of that table.

It is all so obvious: small countries whose top players play outside their own country (Belgium, Sweden, Croatia, Iceland) often far exceed what might be expected of them in internationals.  As we have regularly shown, it is because of the number of fully qualified coaches the country has.  In the last world cup all England’s players played in England.  But we still didn’t win.

Basically England has so few qualified coaches because the coaching system in England is organised by… the FA.


On 30 July 2015 we published the story about how Sport England was removing its investment from the FA because of the abuse of the use of funds by the FA.   No one followed up on that story.

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