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Football Law

Playing Contracts

Football Player Breaking Contracts

Football Players Verbal Contracts

Footballers Not Paid Wages

Salary Caps in Football

Footballer Work Permits

UEFA Financial Fair Play Proposals

Pay As You Play

Premier League Parachute Payment

Footballers Playing for Free

Football Player Under Contract Approaching Clubs

International Game Injuries


Referees Association

Football Clubs Voice in UEFA

Football Associations Power

Football Licensing Authority

Supporters Federation

Government Involvement in International Football

Companies Organising Matches

Human Rights Act in Football

Professional Footballers' Association

Matches and Fans

Violence at Matches

Ticket Touting and Football

Away Tickets Football Matches

Chanting Football Fans

Football Hooliganism

Football Season Tickets Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts

Matches Behind Closed Doors

Football Banning Orders

Regulatory Matters

Change to Premierships Format

Conduct to Referees in Football

Football Quotas and Home Grown Player Rule

Wealth and Corruption

Corruption in Sport Football

Teams Refusing to Play in Tournaments

Goal Line Technology in Football

Racist Abuse in Football

Player Transfers

Bosman Decision on Football Transfer

Football Transfer Penalties

Potential Legal Issues in Transfer Window

Managers Moving Clubs

Footballers Transfer in Season

Media Rights

Youtube and Premier League Rights

Footballers Names in Computer Games

Pub Landlord Showing Live Football

European Law on Selling Premiership Television Rights

Streaming Live Football Matches Online

Reproduce FA Fixtures on Website

Ofcom and Broadcasting


Foreign Football Takeovers

Football Super Creditors

Football Clubs Administration Insolvent

Building a Football Stadium

Football Stadiums and the Law


Premier League Running England

Owning A Football Club

Dual Ownership of Football Clubs

Fans Running Football Clubs

Third Party Ownership Football Players


Football Agents

Football Agents Fiduciary Duty

Football Agents FIFA Regulation

Football Agents Player Transfers


Sponsorship of International Teams

Different Sponsorship for Different Football Competitions

Footballers Tools of the Trade

Training Qualifications

Becoming a Referee

Coaching Qualifications

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The transferring of football players

The transfer system is an intrinsic part of the sport of football. It enables players to move from club to club to improve the fortunes of the club acquiring their services but also in the case where a transfer fee is paid can improve the fortunes of the selling club by providing them with much needed finance. 

The movement of football players

The movement of football players is also an intrinsic part of the sport of football following certain legal decisions, most notably in the Bosman case and in the Webber case involving Article 17 of the FIFA Transfer Regulations.

As a consequence of these decisions the importance of footballers not being legally restrained from moving from club to club can be seen.

Are there any rules in place which limit how many clubs a player can play for in one season?

Currently under the FIFA Transfer Regulations a football player is unable to play for more than three teams in one season. This applies whether the player has been transferred or simply is on loan with that club.

This also applies regardless of what country that player has plied his trade in, whether that is in Europe, Africa or South America. As long as a player has represented a club in a league under the adjudication of a FIFA Member Association they will only be able to play for three different clubs.

However, this does mean that a football player is free to represent a total of three different clubs in any league in the world over the course of one season.

Can a player be prevented from representing a number of teams in a particular competition?

If we take the example of a football player moving between two clubs which ply their trade in the FA Premier League during the season we see the possibility of that player playing in the following domestic competitions:

  • The FA Premier League  
  • The FA Cup
  • The Football League Cup

If a player has already represented another team in a match in the FA Cup or the Football League Cup then they will not be able to represent their new club in that competition during the same season. This is a concept which is known as being Cup Tied.

However, this rule does not apply to the FA Premier League meaning that a player can play for more than one club in that competition in the same season.

Why do the cup competitions have the notion of being Cup Tied?

As the cup competitions in England only contain a certain number of matches it is regarded as unfair if a team can purchase a player who has already played in the competition for another club to bolster their chances of winning the trophy.

Accordingly a player can only play for one club in either the FA Cup or the Football League Cup in a particular season.

What effect will the creation of transfer windows have on this rule?

It must be remembered that the imposition of two transfer windows throughout one season was only implemented by FIFA in 2003. Prior to this players could move between clubs at any stage during the season. This meant that a team could purchase a player just before the FA Cup final but they would not be able to use them if they had already played in the tournament.

However, in most seasons the FA Cup will start after the January transfer window meaning that players will not have played in the FA Cup yet that season if they move in January. 

However, they will still have been able to play in the Football League Cup.

Does this only apply to players moving between Premier League clubs?

This concept of being cup tied applies to players moving between any levels in the English game. Lower league clubs will play the earlier rounds of the FA Cup prior to January so if a player moves in the window he may have already played in the FA Cup and will therefore not be able to play in the competition for his new club.

Does this concept also apply to European Competition?

This concept also applies to European competitions as well as domestic competitions meaning that a player who has already played in the UEFA Champions League will not be able to play for another club in that competition during the same season following a transfer.

This same concept applies to the Europa League. However, a player can play for one club in the Champions League then represent another club in the Europa League following a transfer.

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