FIFA have announced contracts will be extended and transfer windows shift in line with the changing fixture list after the COVID-19 crisis. A decison that is sure to be met with lawsuits as FIFA does not have the power to unilaterally extend player contracts.
Nobody knows when the current season will resume, or even if it will resume, so FIFA have taken the step of guaranteeing some elements that were up for debate.
Specifically, that allows player contracts to be extended beyond June 30 to the natural end of the season, and moves the transfer windows to an appropriate time for the clubs and players in this new reality.
“Following the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19 at all levels of football, FIFA has worked on a series of recommendations and guidelines to address some of the key practical issues arising from the pandemic, especially with regard to player contracts and the transfer system generally,” read a statement.
“This has been done in consultation with different stakeholders through a task force chaired by the FIFA Vice-President and chairman of the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee, Vittorio Montagliani, and including representatives of clubs, players, leagues, national associations and confederations.
“A set of principles has been unanimously agreed by the task force and was endorsed by the Bureau of the FIFA Council today.
Expiry and commencement of player contracts:
Expiring player contracts usually end when the season ends, with a termination date that coincides with the end of the season. With the current suspension of play in most countries, it is now obvious that the current season will not end when people thought it would. Therefore, it is proposed that contracts be extended until such time that the season does actually end. This should be in line with the original intention of the parties when the contract was signed and should also preserve sporting integrity and stability.
A similar principle applies to contracts due to begin when the new season starts, meaning the entry into force of such contracts is delayed until the next season actually does start.
Again, I am not sure that FIFA has the power to force players to stay at a club that they were planning to leave, often at lower waes than they would have gotten at their new club.
Also, now clubs will be forced to keep, or pay, players that they thought they were getting rid off. Does this mean that Inter Milan for examplke will be forced to keep Alexis Sanchez for months more than they thought they would have too?