FIFA is set to announce big changes to the football calendar by pushing back the dates of the transfer window and has also approved plans to extend player contracts.
A range of changes have been ‘adopted unanimously’, the Mail states, and FIFA ‘expects the necessary level of co-operation and compliance’ from member associations.
Full details are expected to be released imminently but a series of ‘guiding principles’ are set to come into play, as football fights back against the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic that has decimated the sporting world.
Contracts due to expire at the original end date of the season should be extended to the new end date, while contracts due to start next season should be put back to new start dates.
In the case of Stoke City; Mame Diouf, Stephen Ward, Adam Federici and loan defender James Chester are all out of contract in the summer.
Where a player has moved to a club whose new season may have started before their old club’s has finished, priority should be given to the former club – which could affect deals that have already been agreed, like Hakim Ziyech’s move to Chelsea from Ajax.
In situations where clubs cannot afford to pay players, FIFA encourage both parties to work together to find ‘collective agreements on a club or league basis’. When agreements cannot be reached, FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber or Players’ Status Committee (which sets up and monitors compliance) will consider the economic situation of the club, how much money is due, whether the club’s decision applied to the entire squad or specific employees and whether the club had acted in good faith in their negotiations.
Alternatively, FIFA will allow contracts to be suspended while football is suspended should sufficient insurance coverage be held and alternative income found for employees.
With the transfer window changes, all requests for new dates should be approved as long as they stick to the 16-week limit that it is in place which, if the rescheduled season was to finish in July, could then see the transfer window open until October.
Players who have had their contracts terminated thanks to the coronavirus outbreak will be permitted to sign for new clubs regardless of whether a window is open.