EFL Clubs have today indicated they would be in favour of an earlier closure of the transfer window from next season onwards. The decision was taken at a meeting of all 72 clubs and subject to further discussions, will be put to a formal vote in February next year ahead of any changes being implemented in time for the 2018 Summer window.
While the EFL is under no obligation to make any changes, the EFL outlined a suggested approach that differs from the recent adjustment by the Premier League, whereby a shorter window for permanent transfers would be introduced, but clubs could continue to sign players on loan until the traditional end of the window on 31 August. Clubs overwhelmingly supported the approach.
EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey said: “Today 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. 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.”
A number of other important matters were discussed, including:
Full strength teams
Following the widespread attention the matter of team selection received in the closing weeks of the 2016/17 season, it was determined at the Summer Conference in June that the EFL would work up a policy to determine what constitutes a ‘full strength’ team to remove any ambiguity and further potential reputational damage to the EFL and its competitions.
Today, clubs were asked to support the implementation of guidance on the following basis: ‘From the fourth Thursday in March, any team sheet for a league game should include at least ten outfield players who featured on the team sheet for the league game before’. Clubs indicated they were in support of amending the policy guidance and a formal vote will now take place at the February meeting.
In the event the guidance is adopted and a club subsequently breaches this threshold, they would be charged with a breach of Regulation 24 and the matter would be referred to a Disciplinary Commission.
Use of additional substitutes
Clubs were also asked for their view on whether or not there was an appetite to use four or five substitutes in a match. This opportunity became available following the International Football Association Board (IFAB) AGM earlier this year when it was agreed that non top-tier competitions could have the flexibility to make modifications to organisational areas of the laws of the game for which they administer. Clubs were asked to consider the matter and have opted not to progress further at this current time.
Conduct of owners
The ongoing issue of the conduct of Club Owners, Directors and Executives is one that has been repeatedly raised by the media, Government and other key stakeholders and has on many occasions led to public perception issues for the League, its Clubs and competitions. It was therefore agreed at the Summer Conference that there was a requirement to conduct a review.
At its meeting today, the EFL and clubs formally began a consultation in an attempt to understand what the specific concerns are and whether they can be dealt with under existing regulations or if reform is required in an attempt to avoid future reputational damage.
The consultation will look to:
- discuss with Clubs an appropriate formulation of the responsibilities expected of the Clubs themselves, the Club Owners, Directors and other relevant employees;
- begin to outline conduct which could be considered contrary to those objectives, and how the EFL would begin to assess whether that conduct falls short of what is expected at any particular level;
- begin the process of developing guidelines on when the EFL may intervene to remind Clubs and individuals of their responsibilities and where appropriate remedial action is not taken, proceed to regulatory action if it is viewed that the conduct is bringing Clubs and / or the EFL into disrepute.
Clubs will now respond formally to a consultation paper and the matter will be discussed further later this season.
Following the announcement last week of the EFL’s new five-year £600m domestic broadcast rights deal, clubs have been given a full overview of the new arrangement and the process undertaken in order to bring the matter to its successful conclusion.