by Tony Attwood
We have often commented on this blog about the way the loan system has been manipulated by certain clubs. And now, years and years after we really started picking up on the story Fifa have said they are going to do something about it!
It was our much missed correspondent Anne who back in September 2009, did the research which resulted in the story, “FIFA and UEFA plan to ban transfers on players under 18 after Chelsea’s punishment over Gael Kakuta.” Kakuta was 15 when he signed a contract with Chelsea in June 2007. Reggina also accused Chelsea of tapping up Vincenzo Camilleri, also aged 15.
Leaping forward across the years on 27 July 2016 we published the article Chelsea go bonkers on loans which noted that although it was only July, Chelsea already had shipped out an astonishing 14 players on loan for the coming season.
Then we tried again with Child trafficking allegations return to haunt Chelsea on 19 January 2018 in which we reported that “Chelsea have been accused, after an initial Fifa investigation, of breaking the rules on the signing of 25 foreign players under the age of 18. The number of cases could rise, with the matter now in the hands of the governing body’s disciplinary committee.”
Which all sounds fine except, as the Daily Mail points out, with its typical use of RANDOM capitals, “REVEALED: FIFA are set to bring in radical new rules on loan moves to stop clubs hoarding young talent, with an allowance of just six loans per club per season from 2024… but it WON’T apply to under-21 players
- FIFA will introduce the new rules on loan transfers during summer window
- The idea is to prevent clubs hoarding young talent and just loaning them out
- There will be a cap of just six loans in and out per club per season from 2024
- A cap of three players to the same club at any given time will also apply”
And maybe this time the capitals for WON’T is justified because although the rule itself is welcome it still doesn’t cover the key issue of clubs hoarding young talent and then discarding them.
Fifa, in its usual semi-skimmed manner says the new rule aims to “strengthen the development of young players, improve the competitive balance and prevent the excessive accumulation of players under contract.”
There are also plans to limit the number of players that a club can lend to the same team to three, but of course this can easily be got around by a big club transferring a player to a little club with whom it has a friendly relationship, and then loaning him on that way. That’s illegal but with Fifa somewhat occupied by running African football directly, and with its boss moving permanently to Qatar and rumours that all of Fifa is going there as well, no one is looking.
And it might stop Chelsea’s close relationship with Vitesse Arnhem, which has received about thirty players from Chelsea in recent years.
More helpful is the fact that clubs will be limited to loaning out only six senior players a year by 2024. Manchester City seems to have 14 out on loan at the moment. Clubs can no longer loan on players they already have on loan, but there is an exception for players trained with the club doing to loaning. They can be loaned out as often as the club wants.
The original rules were going to be introduced in 2020, but there were so many protests that it has been watered down and down and down again.
But there is another problem. We’ve already reported that some Football League teams are not bothering with the niceties of good practice in training young players, and are leaving the players injured for life by overtraining on the wrong surface. Clubs, their trainers and even their medics are accused of covering up for each other.
|Player||Age||Playing for||Contract expires||Loan started||Value|
|Saliba||20||Marseille||June 2024||July 2021||£21.60m|
|Guendouzi||22||Marseille||June 2023||July 2021||£19.80m|
|Bellerin||26||Real Betis||June 2023||Aug, 2021||£18.00m|
|Torreira||25||Forentina||June 2023||Aug, 2021||£18.00m|
|Mavropanos||24||Stuffart||June 2023||July 16 2020||£15.30m|
|Maitland-Niles||24||Roma||June 2023||Jan 2022||£10.80m|
|Nelson||22||Feyenoord||June 2023||Aug 2021||£6.30m|
|Mari||28||Udinese Calcio||June 2024||Jan 2022||£4.50m|
|Runarsson||26||OH Leuven||June 2024||Aug 2021||£1.08m|
In addition to those nine players on loan we have a further ten players from the youth ranks who are out on loan
- Miguez Azeez – Portsmouth
- Daniel Ballard – Millwall
- Harry Clarke – Ross County
- Jonathan Dinzeyi – Carlisle
- Dejan Illiev – Sered
- Tyreece John-Jules – Blackpool
- Nikolaj Moller – Viktoria Koln
- Jordi Osei-Tutu – Nottingham Forest
- Matt Smith – Doncaster
- Tom Smith – Welling United
So that makes 19 in total.