Premier League: Transfer window will close before start of season

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Closing transfer window early is' controlled risk' - Scudamore

Premier League clubs have voted to close next summer's transfer window before the 2018-19 season starts.

Managers have complained that signing players once the season is under way causes disruption to their squads and preparations.

From next season, the window will close at 17:00 BST on the Thursday before the Premier League campaign begins.

The vote was not unanimous and clubs will still be able to sell players until the end of the normal window.

Fourteen Premier League clubs voted in favour of the amendment, the minimum needed for the plans to be approved. Manchester United, Manchester City, Watford, Swansea and Crystal Palace voted against, while Burnley abstained.

The window across Europe runs until 31 August. The Premier League's move means while clubs will be able to sell until that date, buying activity will cease on 9 August for the 2018-19 season.

European leagues will still be able to buy and sell until 31 August, while the Football League's window also remains unaltered.

Football League bosses have indicated they could follow the Premier League's move but require further dialogue with stakeholders before a decision is made.

The right way to do business?

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The transfer window needs to close before the season starts - Wenger

The early finish will not mean the Premier League's transfer window is shorter as it will start earlier and be 12 weeks long, in line with Fifa rules.

Next summer is slightly different from normal, with the 2018-19 season following the Fifa World Cup in Russia, which finishes on 15 July.

Premier League clubs can still do business during the tournament, but will now have only 25 days after its conclusion in which to complete signings.

In August, Tottenham striker Harry Kane said closing the window early would allow players to concentrate.

His views were echoed on Friday by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who stated players need "clarity".

"It's important that we close all that stuff before the championship starts," said Wenger. "Players have no clarity. Are they in? Are they out? Will they be tapped up on the afternoon of a game? It's not the way to work."

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson also said the window should be closed early when he was asked about Barcelona's bids for Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho.

Speaking before Thursday's announcement, Everton manager Ronald Koeman said he hoped the rest of Europe would follow the move.

"If we do it in the Premier League and the rest of Europe don't do this, still we have a problem," said Koeman. "The best is before starting the competitions, stop the transfer window because it's very silly."

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho stressed the fact European clubs would have a wider opportunity to do business would not be a disadvantage for English clubs.

"The risk is minimal and even those powerful clubs have to know if we can't buy players we're not going to sell," said Mourinho.

Reaction from Europe

Giuseppe Marotta, the director general of Italian champions Juventus, backed the decision by Premier League clubs and said he wants Serie A to follow suit.

"The Premier League's decision to end the transfer window early is wise. Now we have to extend the discussion to a European level," Marotta said.

"It's the right choice. Having such a long transfer window creates turmoil, a well-run club succeeds by planning out a transfer campaign.

"The transfer market has to be limited, you can't have players moving when the leagues have already started."

Roma sporting director Monchi, meanwhile, said the move was a "right and logical decision".

Vadim Vasilyev, vice-president of Ligue 1 champions Monaco, said on Thursday that closing the transfer window before the start of the season was a "good idea".

A spokesman for La Liga told BBC Sport the matter needed to be discussed with its clubs, but said it was "not a priority".

Analysis

BBC Radio 5 live sports news correspondent Richard Conway

Fourteen Premier League clubs voted in favour, five were against and one abstained.

Such figures are sufficient though to herald a new era for English football and shows a distinct boldness on the part of the clubs to go it alone.

The EFL may follow suit in due course but the major European leagues, as it stands, will still have around three weeks to try and snatch star Premier League players.

Will La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Eredivisie, Serie A now fall in line? Given concerns over English economic dominance continental officials may see this is as an opportunity to exert some form of competitive advantage.

However, English clubs are confident - given their vast financial strength - that they can resist big money offers, just as Liverpool did this summer when Barcelona came calling for Philippe Coutinho.

But Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore insists competition integrity was the main motivation for this move, with clubs eager to stop their domestic rivals poaching players after the first day of the season.

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