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Chelsea still largely unconcerned (and unaffected) by FIFA’s new loan rules

Nothing new here since September

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Chelsea v Derby County - Carabao Cup Fourth Round Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

FIFA have been hard(?) at work(?) in drafting some new guidelines regarding loan moves between teams in club football, and their proposed changes have apparently been ratified and will be in place by the start of the 2020-21 season (so at least 2-3 transfer windows away, which is an eternity, to begin with).

The Times “broke” this story yesterday, and as is standard, put a scary headline with Chelsea front and center because loans:bad, or some such. Their actual report is rather sparse on the details of the ratified changes, and how they might differ from the set of rules proposed back in September.

That’s right, September. You may or may not remember (the headlines assume you don’t), but we went through this song and dance at the start of the season already.

Given that only a few months have passed since, it’s probably safe to assume that the proposed changes were the ones that ended up getting ratified. A FIFA spokesperson told the Telegraph that no official word will be expected before February or March.

So when the Times fear-mongers that only 6-8 players will be able to be sent out on loan instead of the 39-40 we’ve had go out for the first half of this season, what it’s likely to mean that only 6-8 players can be loaned out who a) aren’t homegrown, b) aren’t under 21 (or 23, depending on the rule), and c) are loaned to foreign clubs (and thus fall under FIFA’s direct jurisdiction).

Chelsea are working under similar assumptions, thus the reports from the likes of the Telegraph and ESPN of the club’s confidence in the new rules not affecting things too much at all.

When we looked at this in September, we guessed that if those rules were adopted (with the stricter 21 age limit), Chelsea would have to jettison (or keep with the Development Squad) the following 16 players to immediately achieve compliance:

Angban, Blackman (recently recalled due to injury), Colkett, Dabo, Eduardo, K.Hazard, Hector, Kalas, Kane, Miazga, Nathan, Omeruo, Pantić, Pašalić, Baba, Joao Rodriguez.


For the record, the other 24 players currently on loan include:

U21 (born on or after Jan 1, 1997): Abraham, Baxter, Brown, T.Chalobah, Clarke-Salter, Collins, Dasilva, James, Maddox, Mount, Quintero, Sammut, Scott, Sterling, Tomori, Ugbo

The FIFA 8 (allowed by new rules): Aina, Bakayoko, Baker, Batshuayi, Kenedy, Musonda Jr, Palmer, Zouma.

If FIFA end up going with just 6, Aina seems likely to leave anyway on a buy-out and other than Bats, Big Kurt, and maybe Bakayoko, it’s hard to see any of the others truly have a shot at the first-team anyway.

As @chelseayouth put it back in September, FIFA are going to have to try a lot harder to destroy Chelsea’s Loan Army (and actually fix youth development). If anything, the new rules would make it a leaner, meaner, more efficient and potentially more useful operation.

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