A Transfer Window is a period during which soccer clubs worldwide can transfer players. This means that they can both sign them and let them go during this time. All the transfers occur under FIFA as the governing body. However, depending on the association, other smaller governing bodies like UEFA, AFC, CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, and OFC are overlooking transfer deals.
Even though the term transfer window is not an official one, it is still used by the media for the concept of a registration period. This period is described in the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players.
When does the transfer window occur?
Traditionally, the transfer window opens two times per year – one during the summer and one during the winter. There are some exceptions depending on the country, but most European countries, for example, have their winter transfer window open from January 1st until the end of January 31st. On the other hand, the summer transfer window is open from the end of May until the end of August.
It is important to note that the first transfer window may not be longer than twelve weeks (in this case, the summer transfer window), while the second one (winter) may not exceed four weeks.
The transfer deadline day is usually the day when most of these transfers occur. Clubs tend to send out a huge number of bids at the very last moment of a transfer window. This makes the deadline day the busiest during a transfer window.
Can a player make a transfer outside of a transfer window?
Players who are currently under contract cannot make a move outside of a transfer window, but those who are free agents can easily sign a contract with a new club. There usually aren’t many top-tier free agents available, but several factors like injury history, discipline, or dissatisfaction with current terms can lead to a player becoming one.
After the Bosman ruling in 1995, a player can leave the club after the expiration of the current contract with no obligation of signing a new one. The player can leave the previous club and sign for a new one on a free transfer.
There are cases in which either players or clubs can cancel the contract, which means that a player can then sign for a new club after becoming a free agent for a brief period.
What types of transfer deals exist?
There are several types of transfer deals that both do and do not require a certain fee.
- Transfer with a fee – a type of deal that requires a certain fee that a parent club will receive for letting one of their players go. The fee varies depending on the current contract length, the player’s age, injury history, etc.
- Free transfer – a player signing a contract with a new club after the expiration of the previous contract. There is no transfer fee involved.
- Loan transfer – a player goes on a loan to a new club while still having a contract running with the old club. This deal can either be free or require a certain fee. The player returns to his parent club after the loan deal expires.
- Short-term loan or transfer – a player can sign for a club on a short-term deal that lasts for only a couple of weeks, months, and in some cases, games.