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 Wednesday, 18 December, 2002, 08:23 GMT
The transfer window explained
Gabriel Batistuta (left) and Kevin Phillips are among the players tipped for Premiership moves when the transfer window reopens on 1 January
Big names have been tipped to move on 1 January

At the stroke of midnight on 1 January, the transfer window reopens and the Premiership's top clubs have a month to boost their squads.

But how will the new system work?


The rule makers
Andreas Herren, Fifa spokesman:

Rumoured Premiership new year switches
Gabriel Batistuta (Roma to West Ham)
Kevin Phillips (Sunderland to Man Utd/Middlesbrough)
Les Ferdinand (Tottenham to West Ham/Portsmouth)
Francis Jeffers (Arsenal to Middlesbrough)
Lee Bowyer
(Leeds to Tottenham)

"We set up the rules, which comply with European regulations.

"Each association has two transfer periods a season - one during the closed season and the other during the midway part of the season.

"This period is limited to four weeks but it is up to the associations when they have it."


The overseers
Paul Newman, FA director of communications:
"We will have people in the office on 1 January for when the window reopens.

"But it certainly won't be a case of us sitting by the phones waiting for a deluge of calls.

"Our involvement is simple. We act to pass across the money for the transfer of each player and then register that player with his new club, ensuring everything is done correctly.

"All that has to be completed by 31 January otherwise the player is not eligible.

"Nothing much will happen right away. Any possible busy time would come towards the end of the month as clubs rush to sign players.

"We cannot predict how hectic the market will be. We expected a lot at the end of the last transfer window and it never materialised. But we'll be ready whatever the case."


The middle man
Eric Hall, football agent:
"I don't think there will be any winter madness on the transfer market, with only about 10 to 20 players moving at the most. So it won't affect people and clubs that much.

Football agent Eric Hall
Hall predicts 10-20 Premiership transfers

"I have two or three players on my books who could be moving come January. But much of my part has been played already by the time the transfer window reopens.

"In the new year I will then come in when the two clubs agree terms. I go with my player to the relevant club, talk through the deal and try to negotiate a contract."


The product
James Beattie (Southampton):
"The transfer window isn't really something we talk or give a lot of thought to as players, which probably tells you all you need to know.

"As a professional footballer, you play for whoever wants you and is prepared to pay your wages.

"If a club decides it no longer wants you and another comes in for you, you accept it and move on.

"It sounds mercenary, but to an extent, you're a bit of a commodity to be bought and sold. In the end, you're like any other employee and you do your best for your employer.

"I think it's certain that the transfer market won't be busy during the window.

"Very few clubs have got any money to spend, so it will only be the clubs at the top and bottom ends of the table who spend for contrasting reasons."

Links to more Football stories are at the foot of the page.


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