Chelsea are confident that FIFA’s proposed reform of the rules governing loans will not force them into a major rethink of their mass loan system, sources have told ESPN FC.
On Friday, the Times reported that world football’s governing body planned to ratify new limits on the number of players a club can send out on loan.
It reported that there would be a proposed restriction of no more than six to eight players sent out from the 2020-21 season onwards.
Chelsea have 39 players on loan at clubs in England and overseas, but believe the details of FIFA’s proposed changes would not leave them much cause for concern.
Sources have told ESPN FC that domestic loans are unlikely to count towards the proposed new limit.
Chelsea are also optimistic that “home-grown” players — either produced through their own academy or developed elsewhere in England — under the age of 23 will be exempt.
If that proves to be the case, the bulk of their mass loan system will remain unaffected.
Of the 39 loanees, 23 qualify as club or association trained and — apart from Michael Hector and academy graduates Lewis Baker, Todd Kane and Fankaty Dabo — all are under 23.
Hector, Baker and Kane are all on loan at English clubs, as are Tomas Kalas, Kurt Zouma and Kenedy, meaning that, overall, 14 of Chelsea’s loanees would count towards FIFA’s proposed new limits.
Reducing the number to comply with the regulations would represent an adjustment rather than a complete overhaul of the club’s loan policy.
Chelsea’s long-standing relationship with Vitesse Arnhem could see the most significant change if FIFA’s new rules are ratified because of a proposed limit on loans to one club.
This season, the Blues have three players — Eduardo, Charly Musonda and Jake Clarke-Salter — playing at Arnhem, and have previously sent as many as seven players to the club in a single campaign.
In September, FIFA’s Football Stakeholders Committee agreed a set of principles for transfer reform that included new regulation of loans to ensure “the purpose of youth development as opposed to commercial exploitation,” specifying limits of “the number of loans per season and between each club.”
Chelsea have always said player development, rather than profit, is at the heart of their loan policy.
Last month, the FIFA Council endorsed the proposed changes. The drafting of concrete regulations is now in the hands of the Task Force Transfer System, which will provide an update of its work at the next Football Stakeholders Committee meeting in February.