EFL clubs have today officially voted through proposals that will see the EFL transfer window close following the opening game of the league season.
Consultation with clubs has been ongoing since last year and, as a result of today’s vote, the window will now close for permanent transfers from another club on Thursday 9 August 2018 at 5pm, which is aligned with the decision the Premier League opted to take in September 2017.
In addition, EFL clubs will still be able to:
· Sign players on Standard Loan up to the 31 August 2018
· Sign players on Standard Loan up to 31 August 2018 with an option to agree a permanent transfer when the next window opens
· Register players who ceased to be registered with a club during the period up until the 31 August 2018
· Transfer players OUT to a club in any League whose window is still open
The EFL was under no obligation to make any changes and the board adopted a neutral position on the matter, ensuring that clubs were provided with the appropriate information in order to fully consider the implications and come to a decision that benefitted their own individual transfer policies.
EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey said: “After discussing the options throughout the course of the last few months, I’m pleased that the matter has been determined by Clubs ahead of the start of next season.
“This new approach will give Clubs and managers the stability they crave earlier in the season whilst also providing the flexibility to add to their squads after the traditional deadline until the end of month if required.”
Alongside voting in the changes to the transfer window, clubs also adopted new policy guidance in regard to what constitutes a ‘full-strength’ team.
Following the widespread attention the matter of team selection received in the closing weeks of the 2016-17 season, it was agreed 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 supported the implementation of guidance on the following basis: ‘for any league match played on or after the fourth Thursday in March (including season 2017-18), any teamsheet for a league game should include at least 10 outfield players who featured on the teamsheet for the league match before.’
In the event any club breaches the threshold, they may be charged with a breach of Regulation 24 and the matter will be referred to a Disciplinary Commission.
All EFL clubs have had the opportunity over the course of the season to input their views on the potential use of synthetic or artificial pitches within the EFL as part of a wider Stadium Criteria review.
The current position was communicated at today’s club meeting and discussions will now continue ahead of the EFL’s AGM in June to determine if there is an appetite for either league-wide change or if there is an option to adopt the use of artificial pitches on a divisional basis.
Any National League club with aspirations to play in the EFL in 2018-19 was required to submit an application by 31 December 2017, confirming that in the event of achieving promotion they would agree to comply with the qualification criteria, which includes the requirement for a grass playing surface. All National League clubs that have made an application have agreed to meet this criteria.
Should any National League club be promoted to the EFL but fail to meet the criteria by the nominated date, it will result in the 23rd club in League Two retaining its status.
While the use of artificial pitches is ultimately a matter for EFL Clubs to decide, there are any number of other parties that have a significant interest, including the FA and the PFA whose members have historically been against the use of artificial pitches in the EFL. Their views will also need taking into account before any decision is made.
Goal line technology
The EFL have confirmed that goal line technology, which was introduced into the Sky Bet Championship in 2017-18, will be in operation at this year’s Sky Bet League One and Sky Bet League Two semi-final play-offs.