Players looking to move when their contracts expire on 30 June will be made to stay at their current clubs until the season is completed, in proposals outlined in a new FIFA document.
The measures are part of the governing bodies plans to deal with the effects of the coronavirus on the football season.
Extending the campaign beyond the end of June – when many players’ contracts run out – has been a subject of significant contention in discussions about how best to complete this term’s remaining fixtures.
However, a new document presented to FIFA’s coronavirus working group, via The Times, says the crisis constitutes a “force majeure” – an unforeseen situation that can allow contracts to not be fulfilled. This also permits FIFA to introduce emergency powers such as restrictions on transfers until the season is complete.
“This is an unprecedented time for football,” an extract from the document in which this plan is outlined begins. “It is very likely that any such completion will occur after the original end date of the season.”
“Article 27 of the Regulations on the status and transfer of players (RSTP) states that cases of force majeure shall be decided by the Fifa council, whose decisions are final.”
“The proposals, the details of which were being discussed by Fifa’s high command today, have been drawn up by the organisation’s working group on Covid-19 and also recommends that clubs work with players and staff on deferred or reduced salaries ‘by reasonable amounts for any period of work stoppage’.”
FIFA are proposing the following plan for players who will see contracts expire before the season now ends, and players who have already signed precontracts elsewhere…
— Joe Crann (@YesWeCrann) March 26, 2020
Player contracts usually run from 1 July until 30 June, but FIFA argue that these dates are only chosen because they coincide with the football season. Therefore, ‘the true intention of all parties’ is to employ players for the duration of the campaign.
These plans could even delay transfer that have already been agreed, such as Hakim Ziyech’s move to Chelsea.
Some players who have agreed deals which included a significant pay rise could also stand to lose a significant amount of their earnings. Thus, FIFA’s decision seems likely to face a legal challenge.