Obscure rule hits Defoe Spurs trip

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The Independent Online

Jermain Defoe has been told by the Premier League that he is not eligible to play for Portsmouth against his former club Tottenham at White Hart Lane tomorrow. The England striker has fallen victim to an obscure new rule that was agreed upon by all Premier League clubs at their AGM last summer. It dictates that any player who converts a loan move into a permanent transfer must abide by the rules of the original loan for the rest of the season.

Defoe's move from Spurs to Portsmouth on the transfer window deadline at the end of January was originally a loan – done so in order that the two clubs could complete the paperwork in time. Most loans have the proviso that the player cannot play against the club that holds his registration. In the following week after the transfer window closed the loan was duly upgraded to a permanent transfer for around £7.5m and Defoe became a Portsmouth player.

Players and clubs are allowed to convert loans into permanent moves outside the window because Fifa does not recognise loan moves. The world governing body regards them as the same as a normal transfer.

The 25-year-old would have been able to play against Spurs had he moved originally within January on a permanent deal. Instead, Portsmouth later admitted that they had agreed to a loan as a bridging arrangement while they got all the paperwork in place. With six goals in six games for his new club, Defoe is likely to be missed by Portsmouth.

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