English Football League (EFL) clubs have followed their Premier League counterparts and voted to bring forward their summer transfer deadline to early August.
The 72 clubs in the second, third and fourth tiers have agreed to close this summer’s transfer window at 5pm on Thursday 9 August – the same time as teams in the Premier League but, unlike their top-flight counterparts, not before their first round of fixtures.
They will have until the end of August to make additional loan signings, acquire out-of-contract free agents, and sell to teams in territories where the window remains open – by current rules, most of Europe.
“After discussing the options throughout the course of the last few months, I’m pleased that the matter has been determined by clubs ahead of the start of next season,” said EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey.
“This new approach will give clubs and managers the stability they crave earlier in the season whilst also providing the flexibility to add to their squads after the traditional deadline until the end of the month if required.”
Premier League clubs voted in September to bring their deadline forward after managers complained that the later window had a destabilising effect on squads at the start of a season.
The EFL has also tightened selection rules in response to concerns about teams fielding weakened sides late in the season and its effect on potentially decisive matches at either end of the table.
Clubs agreed that, from late March, their starting line-up and substitutes for league games must contain at least 10 outfield players from the previous matchday squad.