The Premier League has been operating under the current transfer window paradigm since 2002 — introduced as a part of an agreement with the European Commission to align on the movement of football players without undermining the integrity of competitions (transfers used to be allowed all the way through March 31st) — but starting next season, the Premier League will shorten the summer transfer window. Like this year, for the past 15 years, the summer window closed on August 31st (or thereabouts depending on any holidays), but starting next year, it will close on the Thursday before the start of the season. Transfer Deadline Day will no longer by on August 31st but rather in early or mid-August, depending on the start of the season — August 9th in 2018, for example.
Calls to change that system have been growing for a while, and the matter was finally put to a vote today, passing just barely with the minimum of 14 votes (of the 20 Premier League teams) required.
Am told 14 Premier League clubs voted for the transfer window to be closed. 5 against. 1 abstention. Close.— Ben Rumsby (@ben_rumsby) September 7, 2017
In theory, the window closing before the start of the season should provide stability for the teams and the players, though it does shorten the time for the clubs to do their business — and as we’ve often seen, transfers tend to take time.
The Premier League are also blazing a trail by themselves here, since the rest of Europe will continue to operate under the old system and other teams could thus still buy players from English clubs up until the end of August. With most European leagues starting a week (or two or three) later than the Premier League, they have little incentive to shorten their own windows, which control when newly acquired players can be registered to play. English teams won’t be forced to sell — the Spanish window, for example, was open an extra day longer this year and very little action came of that — but facing several weeks of potential transfer pressure without the ability to acquire a replacement could be problematic.
That said, UEFA are at least monitoring the situation.
"I am aware there are serious discussions around Europe regarding the shortening of the summer transfer window and we are following them closely. In my view, it is not good when footballers play for one club when the league starts and another club when the transfer window closes. There is a lot of uncertainty for a long time.”
"Therefore I would say that the window might be too long and I would support it being shorter."
-Aleksander Ceferin, UEFA President; source: Times via Soccerway
As for the effects on rumours and reports, fear not. Silly Season™ never sleeps and certainly never ends.
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