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UEFA to enforce five-year limit to tackle loophole

UEFA to enforce five-year limit as Chelsea exploit transfer loophole

January 23, 2023 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
European football's governing body is set to implement regulations to address loophole in Financial Fair Play breaches.

UEFA is set for rapid Financial Fair Play changes in order to prevent teams using Chelsea's loophole in the transfer market. The football governing body is reportedly ready to put a five-year cap on the number of years a club would take to pay the transfer fee of newly recruited players. 

The decision to immediately amend the rules comes in wake of Chelsea Football Club's operations in the winter transfer window. The Blues, under the leadership of new owner Todd Boehly, have caught the eyes of many football fans by handing out unusually long contracts to newly signed players. A handful of deals announced by the club in recent weeks have players on a seven or eight-year contracts with unilateral extension options also  included.

Ukraine's Mykhailo Mudryk signed for over $100M is expected to be at the club for eight-and-a-half years while French defender Benoit Badiashile will also be on the books of the Blues for seven-and-a-half years. While it remains a risky activity, the arrangement gives the London club the luxury to spread the transfer fee of the players over a longer period to circumvent FFP regulations. 

In hindsight, the practice is legitimate as there are no regulations by UEFA barring clubs from making such arrangements. However, according to The Times, it will not be long until no other club can resort to the same practice in order to evade sanctions. While clubs will be able to sign players to unusually long deals, the  proposition by European football's governing body imposes a five-year limit on the maximum length of time over which the transfer fee of a player can be spread.

The timeline for the rule's implementation is yet to be revealed and Chelsea are said to be eager to use the practice to their advantage once more. The Blues have reportedly reignited their interest in signing Benfica's Enzo Fernandez and are eager to complete the transfer before the window closes at the end of January 2023. 

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