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Bridget explains... transfers!


Hey BridgeKids,

I know that, like me, many of you will be glued to the transfer deadline day news!

Chelsea have already signed three new players this month, Ross Barkley, Emerson Palmieri and Olivier Giroud?

It's transfer deadline day, so it's the last time these transfers could happen until the summer!

But what is a football transfer? Why do we have transfer windows? And why does so much seem to happen on deadline day? Let's find out...

What exactly is a football transfer?

A football transfer is when a player joins a new football club after being loaned out or sold by another club, or sometimes joining on a free transfer.

Why are there two transfer windows?

The Premier League's football transfer system was launched in 2002/03. Many football authorities across Europe (like the FA) decided that having two transfer windows, one in summer and one in winter, would help football clubs remain stable.

Before, players could switch clubs at any time of the year. Imagine your top goalscorer leaving just before a cup final!!!

Why do football players need to be transferred?

The way other businesses stay stable is with employee contracts that often have notice periods, where a worker or a business has to say they are leaving a number of months before they actually leave.

This wouldn't work in the world of football, as teams would be less willing 'to invest in developing players,' according to the Premier League website.

What happens in a transfer?

Even though it seems so simple to us, a lot actually happens behind the scenes for a football transfer to happen.

According to FIFA, it's a nine-step process for international transfers (transfers between clubs in leagues from two different countries). In transfers between two English clubs, a lot of this doesn't need to happen:

1. The buying club asks the selling club about the player and sometimes offers a fee.

2. Once the two teams have agreed the fee and terms of the transfer, the country's football body (for Chelsea, it would be the FA) must confirm the player's identity with FIFA.

3. FIFA confirms the identity and allows the process to continue.

4. The football body representing the buying club (the FA again) requests an International Transfer Certificate (ITC) from the other club's football body.

5. The selling club delivers the ITC. At this point they can refuse to deliver it and cancel the transfer.

6. The buying association then enters the player's registration date in the International Transfer Matching System (ITMS)

7. The player can now play for his or her new club!

8. The buying club pays the selling club.

9. The transfer is complete!

Of course, this doesn't include the important stage when the player and his/her new club agree wages, contract length and bonuses, which is when an agent becomes involved.

Wait! Who is the agent?

Almost all professional football players have agents. They will help the player get the best deal on their contract.

Agents are often involved from the start of a football transfer. Clubs will usually approach a player's agent at the same time as they approach the club.

However, teams aren't allowed to talk to players or agents about transfers without talking to the club first.

Agents also help players when they want to sort out a new contract with their club.

What else is decided during the transfer?

The transfer process is often the only time when a player or club can get things into a contract, such a goal bonuses and shirt number.

In some cases, the selling team will ask for extra clauses to be put in the player's contract. For example, if the buying team sells on the player for a profit, the original selling team may get some of the fee!

This is confusing!

You're not wrong! This is why transfers can seem to drag on and on, and why players and clubs are so scared of making announcements before the transfer process is complete!

Hopefully, though, I've helped you to get a better understanding of transfers!