Charlton campaign for controls on mid-season transfers

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Charlton Athletic are attempting to push through a controversial plan to prevent players with more than one year on their contracts from moving during the January transfer window.

The club's chief executive, Peter Varney, said yesterday that he would be approaching other Premier League clubs following the acrimonious transfer of Scott Parker for £10m to Chelsea, despite signing a new five-year deal last summer. Charlton are also suggesting that Parker, 23, was unsettled because of a direct approach to him from Chelsea.

Varney said: "It is no good hiding behind the fact that there is now a degree of anarchy in the game as far as transfers are concerned and, in most cases, a player is aware another club is interested in him before that player's club is even informed." Charlton's manager, Alan Curbishley, said that Parker had confronted the chairman, Richard Murray, "30 minutes" after the League game against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 10 January demanding to know what was happening with Chelsea.

Varney added: "I think the Premier League needs to consider whether players with more than one year on their contract should only be allowed to move in the summer. This, in itself, would prevent any suggestion that the League competition could be distorted, and would help clubs like ourselves to avoid the disruption that has taken place over the past few weeks. This is definitely an issue we will be raising at the next meeting of the Premiership clubs."

Varney also hinted that the apparent unanimity shown earlier this week by Premier League clubs in agreeing to consider as winter break was not so clear. "The reality is that the introduction of a winter break could well cause fixture congestion, particularly for those clubs involved in the Champions' League, FA Cup and Carling Cup. I believe this will inevitably lead to those clubs putting forward the proposition that the Premiership be reduced in size to enable our top clubs to achieve success in European competitions.

"There have been rumours for some time now that some of the top teams, and indeed leading figures in the Football Association, would favour a 16-team Premier League."

However, Arsenal's vice-chairman, David Dein, moved to silence some mutterings about the motives of those who support the winter break by insisting that Premiership clubs would not be allowed to exploit the break, which is being tried for the next two seasons, by filling the gap with lucrative friendlies.

Dein has pledged that his club will concentrate on giving their players some much-needed time off during the two-week January rest period.

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