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No Transfer Windows

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 24/09/2004

THE Football League have issued a press statement revealing what Chairman Sir Brian Mawhinney will be presenting to the European Football Finance Forum today a copy of which has been passed to FIFA.

"The existence of some League clubs could be put at risk if FIFA's intention to impose transfer windows on The Football League is carried out. FIFA are threatening to remove, at the end of the current season, our clubs' ability to transfer players on a year round basis. League clubs have traditionally relied on the flexibility to buy, sell or loan players whenever needed, for either football or financial reasons. If this freedom is restricted clubs' financial health will suffer."

"For some time we have been seeking to persuade FIFA not just to continue our dispensation to trade amongst ourselves on a year round basis but also to allow us to trade, on the same basis, with Premier League clubs. We do not wish to challenge transfer windows applying internationally or between clubs in the same top-tier league. "

"However, we believe it is vital to protect the growth of home grown football talent by allowing second-tier leagues to sign from and sell to clubs in the top-tier. Without this, the financial pressure on our clubs could become intolerable."

"Historically Premier League clubs, aware of the damaging consequences of transfer windows on Football League clubs, had supported our position. Unfortunately they decided recently to endorse the existing arrangements as they apply for their clubs. We are disappointed by their change of mind."

"Of course, transfer windows work to the benefit of Premier League clubs. The market value of players has been skewed in their favour, to the detriment of Football League clubs. In addition, transfer windows are making it increasingly hard for promoted clubs to compete effectively in the Premier League, as they have so little time following promotion to increase the strength of their squad. Neither of these facts enhance the overall health of the professional game in this country."

"In these circumstances the Premier League's decision may be understandable but it may also cause some football fans to wonder and worry about the strength of purpose of the professional game in this country."

"Gordon Taylor and the PFA, on the other hand, have been most supportive. Both the PFA and FIFPRO (the international players' union) have made it clear to FIFA that they support, and will continue to support, our campaign. We welcome their help and their recognition that it is their members' careers that are at risk."

"The Football League is not resigned to failure. We will lobby the European Commission and look forward to further meetings with FIFA before it makes its decision in mid-December. We also briefed our clubs at their meeting in Oxford on Wednesday."

"At its last meeting The Football League Board decided, unanimously, to authorise its executives to seek legal advice on a range of options which may emerge depending on our success or otherwise in persuading FIFA to see these issues from our perspective."

"Football League clubs are grateful to Geoff Thompson, Chairman of the Football Association, for the support he has given to our cause in FIFA's corridors of power. We will continue to work with him to try to protect our clubs and, equally important, their supporters."END"

Interesting to see the change of mind of the Premier League which is obviously intended to inflate the prices of their players on the market. A move that could see the reverse happening as few League clubs can afford to pay them which in effect reduces the size of the market for the Premier League." " "



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