Wigan Athletic stars affected by ruling

FIFA has approved the extension of player contracts until seasons are able to finish and the movement of transfer windows in response the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 10:32 am
Updated Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 10:32 am
Joe Garner

With football brought to a shuddering halt by Covid-19, the sport’s world governing body has been consulting with different stakeholders through a task force chaired by FIFA vice-president Vittorio Montagliani.

Clubs, players, leagues, national associations and confederations were all represented on the task force led by the chairman of the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee, working on recommendations and guidelines to address practical issues brought about by the coronavirus crisis.

The Bureau of the FIFA Council endorsed a set of principles unanimously agreed upon by the task force on Tuesday, with contracts and transfer windows key topics.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly changed all the factual circumstances around football for this season,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said.

“So, FIFA, together with the stakeholders, has come up with some practical ideas and proposals to tackle these new circumstances.

“Whilst this will not solve each and every problem, it should serve to bring a measure of stability and clarity to football for the foreseeable future.

“We hope this collaborative effort, under the leadership of FIFA, can provide a positive example of how football can come together and show unity, solidarity and a spirit of compromise in order to face the challenging times ahead.”

Contracts covering the 2019/20 season in England are set to expire on June 30, 2020, but FIFA has now said “it is proposed that contracts be extended until such time that the season does actually end”.

In addition, deals due to come into force in the next campaign would be “delayed until the next season actually does start” – for example, Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech’s summer move to Chelsea would fall under that.

But there are questions as to what happens if a player does not want to adhere with those principles, so too clubs looking to offload players at the end of their contract.

Transfer windows are also changing this summer, with FIFA saying “it is necessary to adjust the normal regulatory position to the new factual circumstances” when it comes to player movement.

Latics have seven first-teamers out of contract this summer – defenders Chey Dunkley and Danny Fox, midfielders Gary Roberts and Lewis Macleod, and forwards Michael Jacobs, Anthony Pilkington and Joe Garner.