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Loan (sports)

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(Redirected from Loan (association football))

Andros Townsend was loaned by Tottenham Hotspur to nine separate clubs between the ages of 17 and 21, before breaking into the first team at his parent club.[1]

In sports, a loan involves a particular player being able to temporarily play for a club other than the one to which they are currently contracted. Loan deals may last from a few weeks to a full season, sometimes persisting for multiple seasons at a time. A loan fee can be arranged by the parent club as well as them asking to pay a percentage of their wages.

Association football[edit]

Players may be loaned out to other clubs for several reasons. Most commonly, young prospects will be loaned to a club in a lower league in order to gain invaluable first team experience. In this instance, the parent club may continue to pay the player's wages in full or in part. Some clubs put a formal arrangement in place with a feeder club for this purpose, such as Manchester United and Royal Antwerp,[2] Arsenal and Beveren,[3] or Chelsea and Vitesse.[4][5][6] In other leagues such as Italy's Serie A, some smaller clubs have a reputation as a "farm club" and regularly take players, especially younger players, on loan from larger clubs.

A club may take a player on loan if they are short on transfer funds but can still pay wages, or as temporary cover for injuries or suspensions. The parent club might demand a fee or that the loaning club pays some or all of the player's wages during the loan period.[7] A club might seek to loan out a squad player to make a saving on his wages, or a first team player to regain match fitness following an injury.

A loan may be made to get around a transfer window. Such a loan might include an agreed fee for a permanent transfer when the next transfer window opens.

Some players are loaned because they are unhappy or in dispute with their current club and no other club wishes to buy them permanently.

In the Premier League, players on loan are not permitted to play against the team which holds their registration (section 7.2 of rule M.6). Loanees are, however, allowed to play against their 'owning' clubs in cup competitions should they get permission, unless they are cup-tied (i.e. have played for their owning club in that cup during that season).[8][9][10]

Unpaid trialists[edit]

In the Scottish Professional Football League (and previously the Scottish Football League), clubs are permitted to take players on as unpaid trialists even for competitive fixtures. Sometimes for the first two weeks of a trial period player' names are obfuscated; match reports use the convention "A Trialist" to refer to such players in lieu of using their real names.[11]

Rugby league[edit]

Player loans occur in rugby league for similar reasons to soccer. In the United Kingdom, the Rugby Football League (RFL) stipulate that loans must last for at least 28 days.[12] There is no bar against a player playing for the loan club against the parent club unless this has been specified in the loan agreement. In Australia the National Rugby League (NRL) does not normally allow loans due to the feeder club arrangement but the COVID-19 pandemic forced a review of the situation and in 2020 loans were allowed.[13]

Guest appearances[edit]

In the First World War the RFL relaxed player registration rules to allow players to play for clubs close to their military base or workplace. Confusion could arise; in 1917 Billy Batten was working near to Dewsbury so Dewsbury selected him to play against his registered club, Hull FC. Hull had also selected Batten to play in the same game. On this occasion, Batten chose to play for Dewsbury.[14] During the Second World War the RFL allowed players to play as guests for another club on a match by match basis as long as the owning club agreed to the appearance. The system also allowed players whose club had suspended operations to play while still being registered to the original club[15] Clubs made full use of the guest system; in the 1940–41 Championship final between Wigan and Bradford, Wigan featured guest players from Liverpool Stanley, Salford and Hull Kingston Rovers while Bradford included guests from Salford and Leeds.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Moore, Glenn (1 February 2014). "Young players at Premier League clubs must use the loan lottery if they want to make it – the Under-21 league is too soft and sanitised". The Independent. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  2. ^ Mitten, Andy (9 March 2012). "Antwerp connection is a Belgium delight for Manchester United". thenational.ae. The National. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  3. ^ Jones, Meirion (27 June 2006). "Arsenal face Fifa investigation". BBC News. Retrieved 10 June 2008.
  4. ^ Cohen, Jake (13 November 2013). "Fortifying an Empire: The Chelsea-Vitesse Partnership". weaintgotnohistory.com. SB Nation. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  5. ^ Born, Elko (10 January 2014). "How Vitesse became Chelsea's finishing school". fourfourtwo.com. FourFourTwo. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  6. ^ Fifield, Dominic (1 April 2014). "Chelsea and Vitesse Arnhem' links investigated by the Dutch FA". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  7. ^ Marsh, Jaymes (7 June 2007). "Football Transfers Explained". Tottenham Hotspur Blog News. Retrieved 10 June 2008.
  8. ^ "Football loan transfer rules: Premier League guidelines, limits & full details". Goal.com US. 21 November 2019. Archived from the original on 4 February 2024. Retrieved 20 January 2024.
  9. ^ Cormack, James (31 January 2023). "Football loan transfer rules: Premier League guidelines, limits & full details". 90min. Archived from the original on 2 June 2023. Retrieved 20 January 2024.
  10. ^ Cunningham, Jack (27 September 2023). "Can David Raya play against Brentford? Arsenal goalkeeper needs permission to face parent club in Carabao Cup". talkSPORT. Archived from the original on 9 June 2024. Retrieved 20 January 2024.
  11. ^ "The Rules of the Scottish Professional Football League" (PDF). Scottish Professional Football League. p. 112. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 June 2014.
  12. ^ "C1.2". Tiers 1–3 Operational Rules 2020 (PDF). RFL. 2020.
  13. ^ "Warriors get NRL OK to loan players – Australian Associated Press". Australian Associated Press. 23 May 2020. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  14. ^ Collins, Tony (5 August 2014). "Rugby League in World War One". Rugby Reloaded. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  15. ^ Collins, Tony (2006). Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain. Routledge. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-415-39615-8.
  16. ^ Saxton, Irvin, ed. (1985). History of Rugby League: No.46: 1940–41. Rugby Leaguer. p. 23.