5 March 2001 — Things could have been a lot different in the world of football in today’s world.
On this day in 2001 the European Commission, FIFA, and UEFA reached an agreement for a brand new transfer system to be implemented that would go on to change the way entire transfer system.
The agreement made it that there would be one main transfer window for teams to buy and sell players, in what we now call the summer transfer window.
The system also ensured that smaller clubs would be rewarded for their ‘training effort’ when big clubs swooped in for their best players.
Under the agreement, players could only move club once per season. Sorry Nicolas Anelka. Contracts would last a maximum of five years, and clubs would be rewarded compensation for fielding players under the age of 23.
The system was introduced to counteract a previous proposal by FIFA, which set out to abolish player fees. The aim was to make the movement of players purely salary based, primarily in response to Luis Figo’s then record-breaking move to Real Madrid from rivals Barcelona.
The 2001 transfer system didn’t last long, though. In 2002 an updated transfer system was introduced. This time with the addition of a second transfer window in January.
Under the new 2002 agreement contract lengths were expanded from five years to six years — much to the joy of Newcastle United — and the world of football has been using this system ever since.