Should the English Premier League (EPL) scrap the transfer window? – “Transfer window” is the unofficial term commonly used for the concept of “registration period”. At one time clubs could buy and sell players throughout the year but FIFA changed the rule in 2002. Both Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Tottenham’s Harry Redknapp both cricticised the system where they have two short windows of opportunity. FIFA regulates in general that there shall be two windows, a longer one (max. twelve weeks) in the break between two seasons and shorter one (max. one month) in the middle of a season. At present here are the transfer windows in England:
Pre-Season – Last day of season – 31 August
Mid-Season – 1 January – 31 January
However many say that that the limited opportunity to buy players creates a frenzy of panic buying and inflated prices for players and contributes to more managers losing their job. In the last transfer window that finished on 31st January Chelsea were the biggest spenders – £75m – Fernando Torres (Liverpool, £50m), David Luiz (Benfica, £25m).
On the same day the club announced losses of £70m, but the soon to be introduced fair play rules insist that clubs need to breakeven or make a profit or they could be banned from playing in European competitions.
So why were transfer windows introduced? FIFA say it was to introduce some stability in the transfer market but this has not been the case over the last couple of years. With the January window closed there are rumours of deals being done with players with regard to the pre-season window. There is no reason to keep a player who is unhappy at a club but the timing of Toores’ transfer request from Liverpool was inexcusable and directly contributed to the panic and inflated prices that followed. Had there been no transfer window the Torres transfer could have been dealt with in a more measured way and Newcastle wouldn’t have been able to hike the price of Andy Carroll (Newcastle to Liverpool) to £35m. Therefore, let the market rule if clubs need to buy players at any stage of the season then let them go ahead – other clubs can always say no. And if there is no time pressure surely this would have a deflationary effect on transfer fees which would be good for the game in general.