The Premier League has decided to close its transfer window before the start of the season beginning from 2018, in a decision that was in the offing for the last two years. The previous transfer window shut on September 1st.
Following complaints by managers that transfer activity disturbs their preparations, clubs will now not be able to buy players after the season starts. However, sale of players can still be sanctioned to clubs belonging to other European leagues, depending on whether their transfer window is still open after the Premier League season starts.
A statement from the Premier League read, “Premier League clubs have agreed to a rule amendment that will see the summer transfer window in any year end at 17:00 on the Thursday before the start of the season. This is for Premier League clubs only and has no bearing on other leagues and competitions.”
Chris Hughton, manager of newly-promoted Brighton and Hove Albion, welcomed the decision. “That is good news,” he said. “Most managers would say the same. You have a hectic enough time as it is preparing for the season.”
The move was also backed by Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal. “Even in the games, you sit there before the games and even in players’ minds they have no clarity. Are they in? Are they out? Are they half in? Are they half out? Are they tapped up in the afternoon of the game by people who want to get them out? It’s not the way to work and it’s uncomfortable. Every single manager in the league would agree that it’s time to kick that out before the season starts and not continue to have players in the dressing room who are half out and half in.”
Transfer windows were introduced by world governing body FIFA in 2002. In Europe they generally run from the start of June to the end of August, with a shorter mid-season window in January. However, with the Premier League’s decision, other leagues in Europe are expected to follow suit.