The transfer window is often one of the most exciting periods for anyone following football. It’s the time when teams acquire new players and new lineups are formed. At the same time, this is also when you can hear a lot about players being on a loan.
In this article, we’ll explain loan transfers and the rules that govern them. It’s a unique form of a player transfer, but one that’s commonly used and that can be a great asset for many teams.
What are Loan Transfers in The First Place?
In the simplest of terms – a loan transfer is a temporary transfer of a player from one team to another during the transfer window. It’s a very popular form of transfer and many teams have their own loan departments to deal with the players on a loan in particular. Chelsea is one of the most famous of such teams – renowned for their loan departments.
Many teams also have what’s known as a “feeder club” to which they loan players they won’t use or younger players that still need to grow and improve. For Chelsea this club is Vitesse.
Why Are Loan Transfers Important?
Loans are very common even though they are not talked about as much as actual transfers. There’s also a large betting market for loan transfers, just as it is for transfers.The gambling sites accepting Bitcoin allow players to bet on major transfers as well as on loan transfers, before the transfer window. Using BTC or other cryptocurrencies is a possibility as well.
Loan transfers involve high-value players and the market is just as valuable as actual transfers. They also play a big role in growing a player’s career and allowing them to have time on the field that they may not be able to get in their own original team.
- Inexperienced players benefit greatly from loan transfers to smaller teams. That’s where they can shine and have a more prominent role than they would in their home team. The player returns from such a loan as a more valuable addition to the team.
- Sometimes gaps appear in the squad at the mid-season due to injuries and burnout. Loans are therefore a great way to close such gaps without having to spend too much on actual transfers.
- Teams that are fighting for a promotion to a higher league, a trophy, or fighting relegation, can use loans to bolster their chances. That way they get the boost from a new player, but don’t need to take on a long-term obligation of transferring a player.
- For many teams, this is also a way to try a player out before actually signing a permanent contract with them.
How Long Does the Loan Last?
There are FIFA rules that govern how long a loan can last, but they only state the shortest and the longest possible length. Beyond that, it remains between the two teams to agree on how long a player will stay on a loan.
For the most part, a loan will last for a season or by the end of the season if the player is transferred during the mid-season winter. However, there are many examples of loans lasting longer than that once a player on a loan becomes an essential part of their new team.
FIFA Rules and Regulations
FIFA regulates loan transfers as well as many other rules regarding how national leagues are organized and operated. Beyond these, there are also rules and regulations set by the national leagues themselves. These rules can’t go against those set by FIFA. We’ll list a few of the most important FIFA rules here:
- A loan transfer can’t last longer than a year. After that time, it needs to be defined as an actual contract regulating the full acquisition of a player.
- A loan transfer can’t be shorter than the period between two transfer windows.
- Sub-loaning is not allowed. This means that a team can’t loan a player that is loaned to it.
- Teams can’t get more than three players from a single team on a loan and they can’t loan more than three players to another team.
- During the 2022/23 season, a club can loan out a maximum of eight players and this number will be reduced further by one player each season.
- Players aged 21 or younger are exempt from the rules we’ve outlined here. The players trained through the youth academies set by the clubs can be loaned and transferred with much fewer restrictions than the older ones.
Main Advantages for Players on a Loan
There are many benefits of being a player on a loan or an agent representing them. That makes the practice useful for everyone involved: the teams and the players. We’ve talked about how loan transfers help the team and now we will outline what makes them a good deal for the players.
- The biggest advantage comes from getting more playing time. A player from a big and famous team would get more playing time on a loan in a smaller one, and a more prominent place. It also provides them with a chance to prove themselves and advance their career in the future.
- The seasons in Europe start at a different time from those in the rest of the world and the loans allow the players to use their off-season productively. This increases the player’s value and experience.
Obligations to Buy
There are two main types of loans out there. The loan with an obligation to buy and the loan with an option to buy. This means that the team may be obligated to buy a player after the loan period is over or that they can present an offer, but can also return the player to their home team.
Some loan deals can be considered a compromise between these two options. This is known as the “option to buy clause”. This involves a club agreeing to loan a player for a certain amount of time, with an agreement also being in place for a full transfer, including the transfer fee which will also be negotiated in advance. Such deals are becoming more common in recent years.
For instance, the agreement between Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain for Kylian Mbappé was labeled as a ‘loan with an “obligation to buy” rather than an ‘option”. Such deals aren’t only a matter of strategy but also a financial arrangement that allows the team to make sure they will have the funds to actually transfer a player. The loan period gives them time to arrange so.
To Sum Up
Loan transfers are a popular and widely used type of transfer. A player is loaned to another team for a set time, after which the player can be bought or they can return to their original team. This is a great way for a player to get some experience and spend more time on the field in a small club. It will also increase their overall value once the time comes for an actual transfer.
FIFA has outlined rules that govern loan transfers and these rules state how long a player can be on a loan and how many players a team can loan at any given time.