In our next post, we will take a closer look at the summer transfer window. July 1st was special for football fans all over Europe not only because we got a new European champion – Spain won the Euro 2012 final – but also because the summer transfer market has opened. But not everywhere …
As you can see from the list below, most of the Western European (professional; somewhere including 2nd or even lower) leagues have very similar summer transfer windows – almost all of them ending on August 31st at 24:00 Central European Time (CET). It is interesting that the last day of August – also known as the transfer deadline day is the busiest day of the transfer window almost every year. It is not unusual that a lot of interdependent transfers are completed on that day, making it the media’s favorite summer day.
But not all leagues in the world share the same dates when it comes to the summer transfer window. While (for instance) Belgium, France, Scotland and Switzerland allow teams to officially sign new players even before July 1st (most of the contracts are valid until June 30th), France – together with some other exotic countries – finishes the deadline a bit later, this year on September 4th. Norway and Sweden have a summer transfer window beginning and ending in August, while Finland’s transfer dates are August 4th – September 3rd. Russia has one of the longest transfer periods, starting on June 18th and ending on September 6th.
A player can play for two clubs in one season
According to the FIFA document Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players an individual player can be registered with a maximum of three clubs during one season. During this period, a player is only eligible to play official matches for two clubs. There is an exception concerning associations with overlapping seasons (i. e. the Nordic countries, Russia): players coming from those leagues are eligible to play in official matches for a third club during the relevant season, provided they have fully complied with his contractual obligations towards their previous clubs.
This means a player can move two clubs in the summer transfer window and play for the second one if he hasn’t played a single minute for the team that he ended the previous season with.
Different rules apply for amateurs and free agents
Based on the world football “law”, there are two kinds of footballers playing the game: professionals and amateurs. A professional is a player who has a written contract with a club and is paid more than the expenses he effectively incurs in return for his footballing activity. All other players are considered as amateurs. Special rules that vary from country to country apply for amateur player transfers.
Free agents (players who have no kind of valid contract) can usually sign for new teams out of the mentioned dates.
List of the summer transfer window openings in different countries (valid for 2012):
May 16th – August 31st: Scotland
May 25th – July 31st: Luxembourg
June 1st – July 29th: Belarus
June 1st – July 31st: Australia, Estonia
June 8th – August 31st: Hungary
June 8th – September 5th: Mexico
June 10th – August 31st: Switzerland
June 11th – September 1st: Denmark
June 13th – September 4th: France
June 14th – September 5th: Turkey
June 15th – August 31st: Croatia
June 18th – September 6th: Russia
June 27th – July 27th: USA
July 1st – August 31st: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, England, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Ukraine
July 1st – October 31st: New Zealand
July 9th – August 31st: Netherlands
July 16th – August 31st: Japan
August 1st – August 31st: Norway, Sweden
August 3rd – August 31st: Brazil
August 7th – September 3rd: Finland