Action Replay: Football – The January Transfer Window

In English football, the winter transfer window lasts from the 1st January – 31stJanuary. Football clubs can transfer home based and foreign players into their playing staff. Such a transfer is completed by registering the player into the new club through FIFA. ‘Transfer window’ is the unofficial term used by the media for ‘registration period’ as described in the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Player.

Steve Coppell, former manager of Reading called for the transfer window to be scrapped in favour of the previous system, where transfer deals could be made throughout the season. Coppell considered that the transfer window bred panic and encouraged ‘scurrilous’ transfer activity. Last season, Arsene Wenger the Arsenal manager asked for the January transfer window to be limited to two transfers per window and claimed it is ‘unfair’ in its current form. Manuel Pellegrini the Manchester City manager backed Wenger by saying that transfer window was unbalanced in favour of big clubs, and said ‘a club with money can take the best players from the other teams’. Rather ironic given that Manchester City are one of the biggest spending clubs in the transfer market.

Arsenal and Manchester City are examples of how supporters help fund their clubs. The cost of a season ticket at Manchester City is £860 whereas at Arsenal it’s a staggering £2,013. A Manchester City football shirt costs £55, while Hull City’s retail at £39.99.The overseas fan base of Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool benefit massively from shirts sales in the Far East e.g. Singapore.

People who complain that footballers in the Premier League are overpaid need to understand that Premiership football is big business where billions of pounds circulate throughout a season. Football under capitalism is shaped by the market, and revenue streams from season and match day tickets contribute to the large financial outlay required annually.

So now we await the latest scramble for ‘human flesh’ as clubs argue about a player’s value based on goals scored, shots blocked, assists, and clean sheets – all are phrases and statistics in football’s lexicon that serve to attribute the ‘value’ of a human being as a football commodity.


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