FIFA announce new loan regulations starting next season; Celtic could benefit

By John McGinley

January 20, 2022

FIFA have announced a new set of loan regulations that will be enforced from 1st July 2022.

The objective of the changes is to develop young players, promote competitive balance and prevent hoarding according to the international body.

The key points of the new regulatory framework include:

– The requirement of a written agreement defining the terms of the loan, in particular its duration and financial conditions

– A minimum loan duration, being the interval between two registration periods, and a maximum loan duration, being one year

– A prohibition on sub-loaning a professional player who is already on loan to a third club

– A limitation on the number of loans per season between the same clubs: at any given time during a season, a club may only have a maximum of three professionals loaned out to a single club and a maximum of three professionals loaned in from a single club

– A limitation on a club’s total number of loans per season. To ensure that this is implemented smoothly, there will be a transitional period as follows:

  • From 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023, a club may have a maximum of eight professionals loaned out and eight loaned in at any given time during a season.
  • From 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024, the same configuration applies but with a maximum of seven professionals.
  • Finally, from 1 July 2024, the same configuration will apply but limited to a maximum of six professionals.

    Players aged 21 and younger and club-trained players will be exempt from these limitations.
Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

This will apply to all international transfers from the summer, with domestic leagues given three years to fall into line with the framework.

For Celtic, there are a few interesting points. For example, the club currently have 11 players out on loan right now, albeit do not trip upcoming FIFA limits due to exemptions for young and homegrown players.

Perhaps more importantly there will be an end to long-term loans, such as the 18-month deal that brought Patrick Roberts to Celtic Park from Manchester City.

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Indeed, these rules are likely to be more of a hindrance to clubs such as City and their City Group partners than Celtic. A club such as Chelsea is surely impacted too, who have 21 players out on loan right now.

If anything, this could be a boost to Celtic in the transfer market. If cash-rich clubs’ ability to hoard players is impacted, it frees up the Bhoys to be more competitive in signing up top talents.

Likewise, there may be less exciting talents available to the Bhoys on bargain loan deals, such as Cameron Carter-Vickers and Jota. But that may not be a bad thing if it incentivises clubs to strike permanent deals rather than loans to buy. Celtic have shown willingness to do that more and more in recent years.

Ultimately I am quite optimistic about all this and how it influences the international market, which for us includes England.

In other news, The £7.4m prize pot available to Celtic in UEFA Europa Conference League.