FIFA will allow leagues to open their transfer windows before the current, delayed season has been completed as football recovers from the impact of the lengthy coronavirus shutdown, the game’s world governing body announced on Thursday.
FIFA has passed a series of temporary amendments to help deal with the havoc to the football calendar caused by the health crisis.
Most notably, these include allowing the “first registration period” — better known in Europe as the summer transfer window — to “overlap” with the delayed end to this season by up to four weeks.
In normal circumstances, the transfer window does not open until the season has been completed, but many leagues are only just restarting having been halted in March, and will not now finish in many cases until late July.
However, while transfers will be permitted before this season ends, clubs will not be able to field new signings until the next season begins.
The same rule will apply to players moving under freedom of contract.
The transfer window can stay open for up to 12 weeks.
Earlier on Thursday, the president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, indicated that the window in Spain would only open once the season has been completed and run from late July to early October.
Previously, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has said that the window in England will also only open once the season has finished.
In France, where the season was declared over in late April at the height of the pandemic, the domestic transfer window opened on Monday.
In the case of players whose existing contracts are due to expire before what will now be the end of this season, FIFA has called on clubs to extend those deals “in good faith and on terms that are equitable and reasonable.”
Many players in Europe are set to be out of contract on June 30, several weeks before the campaign now concludes.
FIFA has also recommended that players who have signed pre-contract agreements to join new clubs on July 1 be allowed to stay at their current clubs until the season ends.
Meanwhile, it has also introduced an amendment allowing players who are free agents to play for three different clubs in the course of the same season “in order to avoid any concerns regarding unemployed players”.
Usually players can only represent two clubs in the same season.