Football: Managers back Uefa `windows'

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The Independent Online
THE LEAGUE Managers' Association has welcomed Uefa's proposal to impose two transfer windows in the English season. European football's governing body wants to standardise transfer deadlines across the continent in time for the 2000-01 season by limiting moves to two specific periods within each year.

The LMA deputy chief executive, Frank Clark, believes the proposal will put an end to transfer speculation unsettling players through the season. "I think this will be a good idea. It would concentrate the minds of everybody on the job in hand," Clark said. "It would cut down the unsettling transfer talk which goes on throughout the season. It would also encourage managers to look for solutions from within their own staff.

"On balance, I would say it was a good idea. It will provide a stabilising effect... It will force managers to look at their squads more carefully."

However, Clark added that the system would prevent clubs from dipping into the market to revive their campaign. "The downside of the transfer window system is that a club cannot buy their way out of trouble in the middle of the season," Clark said. "Sometimes the arrival of a new player can give the side and the crowd a lift in mid-season."

The proposal suggests the first transfer period is between the last day of the championship and 15 September for domestic moves and 31 August for international transfers. The second period will be between 15 December and 31 January, which is also the deadline for registering players for Uefa club competitions.

The decision has been taken by Uefa's committee for professional football, chaired by the vice-president, Antonio Matarrese, and will now be submitted to the executive committee for approval.

Football Association officials say they will discuss the proposal with their counterparts at the Premier and Football Leagues before deciding what, if any, action needs taking. "We will discuss it internally," said the FA's spokesman, Steve Double. "It is important that the Premier League and the Football League have an input in the talks."

Spiralling players' wages have also come under scrutiny by Uefa, and it is considering imposing salary ceilings. It is proposing to set up a task force to consider putting a cap on wages similar to those already in place in United States professional sports such as American football and basketball.

The task force, which is expected to include members of the leagues, representatives of clubs and Uefa committees, will also look into a licensing systems for players.

n The Dutch government has topped up its security spending for next year's European Championship finals, bringing the total budget to 14m guilders (pounds 4.1m). The ministry of economic affairs announced it would be providing 2.5m guilders to bolster security, with the money going mainly to the regional police forces based in Amsterdam, Arnhem, Eindhoven and Rotterdam where matches will be held. The Netherlands is co-hosting the three-week tournament next June and July with Belgium.

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