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Player Loans and Contract Rules Deciphered

4th October 2014

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During the FST’s recent meeting with Fulham we asked if the club would clarify some queries we recieved based on loans and contracts, such as recall periods for loans and contract lengths for young players; they agreed to be a good idea, and that we’d deliver questions to Chief Operating Officer Darren Preston due course. This was taken on by committee member Mike Gregg, and you can see the Q&A below with answers in bold (also posted on Viva El Fulham), which produced some informative answers:


What are the dates for the Championship loan window? 

The emergency loan window opens 7 days after the transfer window closes, and ends at 5pm on fourth Thursday in November and again in March.

With full-season loans can you recall players at any time or do you need a recall notice in it? If you can recall them at any time, is there a set date that they can only come back (e.g. only during the January transfer window)?

There is a break in January, but only if provision for it was made in the agreement

What are the different rules relating to goalkeepers and outfield players regarding loans? 

A goalkeeper can have a recall clause exercisable at any time. 

If a club pays a fee to loan a player all season, does that mean he cannot be recalled or sent back?


Does a player have to agree to being recalled?

No, if he agrees to the recall provision going in to the loan contract at the outset, then it’s just up to the Club to recall.


What are the age restraints on offering contracts? For example, if a player turns 17 what is the maximum length a contract can be? Can it inclusde the potential for an extension?

No longer than 3 years (including option to extend).
At 18 is there any restriction to a length of contract?
FIFA say 5 years, but can go longer if consistent with local laws.
Are there any restrictions within contracts at these young ages you cannot add? For example, could a 17 year-old have a buyout clause in his contract that if another club offered £x amount we would have to sell?

No restrictions permitted due to age.

What’s the major difference in clauses that the Football League does not allow that the Premier league allowed?

The FL requires divisional pay clauses (what will happen in the event of relegation i.e. stay the same or change).
When a player’s contract is ending and the club offer a new contract, does it have to match exactly the last contract (min term & wage) for the player not to be allowed to leave on a free? Is there an age restriction to this?

To retain compensation rights:

For international moves it’s the season in which the player turns 23 and the offer has to be at least equivalent to current value.

For domestic moves, a player aged 24 years or over as at 30 June can move from 1 July without compensation.  If he’s under 24 then the offer must be not less favourable than the current contract. 

AOB:  Generic questions regarding club policy

Does the club have a wage cap? 


Did the club have a relegation clause in all the players’ contracts this summer?

What is the clubs attitude to loan deals as opposed to permanent contracts?

We don’t have a policy; we take each case on its individual merits.
Who decides if there will be a ‘buy-out’ clause added to a contract – the agent, the club, etc. – and how much that clause is worth?

We would try to avoid them and, in 99.9% of cases, we’ve been successful. In the few cases where we’ve agreed to do it, it’s fully negotiated like everything else.
Who makes the decision on offering contracts to players outside the First Team squad?
This is a collaborative approach between their age group manager, Huw Jennings and Alistair Mackintosh, with the understanding of the Chairman.  If they’re in the U21s we’d include the First Team Manager as the intention would be that he would impact on his squad at some future point. 
Why do the club seem to have the policy of not disclosing the fees for transfers?
Confidentiality provisions in transfer agreements between clubs prevent it. 
Would the club be willing to have a list on the website of players and their contract information (length and end date, extension info, etc.)? Some websites list these and you do say in press releases how long a contract is. 

We do; the information is contained in all First Team biographies on the website.

Thanks to the club for answering the questions. If you have any follow up queries please email us at or tweet us @FulhamSuppTrust.

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