Football League news

League clubs to vote on loan changes

February 19, 2013
By ESPN staff

Football League clubs are to vote on changes to the rules governing the loan system this summer, a League spokesman has said.

Gianfranco Zola is taking a long-term view to his tenure at Watford
GettyImagesLoan players have helped Gianfranco Zola's Watford to third place in the Championship

The development comes after controversy over the 11 loan players brought in this season by Watford - who are currently in third place in the table - following their takeover by the Italian Pozzo family.

The Pozzos also own Spanish club Granada and Italian outfit Udinese, and manager Gianfranco Zola has been able to bring in numerous loan players from both, leading Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway and Birmingham's Lee Clark to question the rules.

Although the current Football League regulations do not put a limit on the total number of loan signings a club can make, they say only five can be included in a matchday squad and only two can be borrowed from one club in the UK.

However, loan deals arranged with overseas teams are seen as transfers, and that means there is no limit to the number of loanees that can be brought in from an overseas club - enabling Watford to include more than five of their loan players in matchday squads and teams.

It is thought that, when the vote takes place at the League's AGM, international loanees could be placed under the same restrictions and be included in the five loanees allowed in a matchday squad.

Speaking after his side had come from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Vicarage Road earlier this month, Holloway said he believed it was "ludicrous" that Watford had been able to make 11 international loan signings, with six of them in the starting line-up for the Palace game.

"We're only allowed to borrow two from the same team in this country," the Palace boss said. "Unlimited abroad? That gives a licence to people to buy English clubs, chuck all their players over here and have a reserve team.

"What if Barcelona wanted to buy us and play their B team for us? We've got to sort this out."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report