London, United Kingdom, Sep 7 – English Premier League clubs voted on Thursday to shut the 2018 close-season transfer window before the start of the 2018-19 campaign.
Following complaints by managers that transfer activity disturbs their preparations, clubs will not be able to register new players after 1600 GMT on the Thursday before the season starts.
The transfer window in Europe’s other major leagues runs until August 31, meaning clubs outside England could buy players from English top-flight teams after the new Premier League deadline.
“Premier League clubs have today 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,” the Premier League said in a statement.
“This is for Premier League clubs only and has no bearing on other leagues and competitions.”
Europe’s other major leagues — Spain’s Liga, Italy’s Serie A, the German Bundesliga and France’s Ligue 1 — now face a decision about whether to fall into line with England.
Juventus CEO Giuseppe Marotta says Serie A’s 20 clubs are in agreement to “set the end of the transfer window on July 31” in Italy.
“The transfer window is exhausting,” he said recently. “It’s become a circus.”
The French league also suggested it was also in support of following the Premier League’s example.
“In principle, the Professional Football League (LFP) is in favour of bringing the closing date forwards to before the start of the championship,” an LFP official told AFP.
“The question will be on the agenda at a future board of directors meeting before the end of the year.”
But the German league (DFL) said there was no clear consensus among the Bundesliga’s top clubs.
“The theme of the transfer window – regardless of the decision of the Premier League – was on the agenda of today’s general meeting of sports representatives of the Bundesliga and the second Bundesliga at the DFL, and it became clear that there is no definitive opinion among the clubs,” said a DFL spokesman.
The Premier League’s move was announced following a meeting of club officials and is not believed to have been agreed unanimously.
– Wenger approval –
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gave his backing to the decision before it was announced.
“Even in the games, you sit there before the games and even in players’ minds they have no clarity,” he told reporters at his weekly press conference.
“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.”
England’s Football League — the second, third and fourth tiers — is not affected by the move.
Premier League clubs spent a record £1.4 billion ($1.8 billion, 1.5 billion euros) on new players during the 2017 close-season window.
The window closed last Thursday, three weeks after the new season had started.
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.”
Earlier this week, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin gave his support to making the close-season player trading period shorter.
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.