Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Premier League clubs vote against related-party transfer ban

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Premier League clubs have voted against a proposal to fast-track a ban on loan moves for players moving into England’s top flight between associated clubs in the January transfer window.

The Athletic reported earlier this month that all 20 clubs were to vote on the proposed ban at the next shareholders’ meeting. The temporary measure was recommended to safeguard the integrity of the competition and provide the necessary time to find a more permanent solution.

The vote at the meeting at The Churchill Hotel in Portman Square, London on Tuesday required at least a two-thirds majority (14 clubs) for the amended regulation to be adopted.

However, while the majority of clubs (13) were in favour of the proposal it did not gain enough support to pass the required threshold and the rules will remain as they are ahead of the winter window.

There are currently no restrictions on Premier League players being sold in one transfer window and the club they join subsequently agreeing to a loan or permanent move back to the division with a team operating under the same ownership when the market reopens, as long as it is considered fair market value.

There had been speculation that Ruben Neves might make a loan move from Al Hilal to Newcastle United — two clubs predominantly owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) — in January. But The Athletic reported earlier on Tuesday that Neves was not expected to leave Al Hilal in the upcoming transfer window, regardless of the outcome of the vote.

This measure was not specifically aimed at impeding Newcastle’s acquisition of Neves or any other players at PIF-owned clubs in the Saudi League, but is rather a component of the broader, ongoing conversation about related party transactions, encompassing matters like front-of-shirt sponsorship.

The Premier League categorises a related party as one having “material influence over the club or (being) an entity in the same group of companies as the club”. Their assessment is based on the “substance of the relationship and not merely the legal form”.

Both Newcastle and Al Hilal fall under this category, alongside Manchester City, Chelsea, and several other Premier League sides that function as part of multi-club models.

Premier League clubs return to action this weekend following the final international break of the year.

(Photo: Nikhil Patil/Getty Images)

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