Sheffield United transfer embargo: What has happened to others in same situation

After being placed under an embargo by the English Football League having failed to make a payment relating to a previous foray into the transfer market, Sheffield United will be studying similar historical cases closely as they attempt to get the sanction lifted.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Four years ago, Championship rivals Cardiff City faced being prohibited from signing players for three windows after failing to settle the first instalment of the monies they owed Nantes following Emiliano Sala’s move to south Wales. The Argentine striker died two days after his switch was completed when a plane he was travelling on crashed into the sea.

When Cardiff initially failed to hand over £5.2m of the monies they owed to the French club, the players’ status committee at world governing body FIFA warned that could see them prohibited from processing new registrations for three windows rather than just one.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“(Cardiff) shall be banned from registering any new players, either nationally or internationally, up until the due amounts are paid and for the maximum duration of three entire and consecutive registration periods,” their ruling at the time stated.

The punishment, FIFA stressed, would not be imposed if Cardiff fulfilled their obligation to Nantes within a 45 day period and was stayed when an appeal was lodged with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Article 12bis of the organisation’s regulations on the status and registration of players states “any club found to have delayed a due payment for more than 30 days without a prima facie contractual basis may be sanctioned in accordance with paragraph four below.” That details how FIFA’s dispute resolution chamber (DRC) can impose “a ban from registering any new players , either nationally or internationally, for one or two entire consecutive registration periods.” A repeat offence could lead to an even more stringent punishment being applied. The DRC considers cases involving parties belonging to different football associations, such as Cardiff and Nantes, meaning it could be asked to intervene if the outstanding amount United have yet to pay is owed to a team overseas. The English Football League were responsible for announcing that United can not process any fresh registrations until the matter is settled. It has indicated that the embargo will be immediately lifted when that happens.

United issued a statement, ahead of Friday’s win over Hull City , acknowledging they had been hit with an embargo for breaching EFL regulation 52.2.3 which relates to defaulted payments “due” to another club. It stressed officials at Bramall Lane, where Paul Heckingbottom’s second placed side moved 14 points clear of third after beating Hull City on Friday night, remained “in constant dialogue with relevant stakeholders with the aim of working to a resolution next week.” The statement also thanked the EFL for “taking into account a number of unique circumstances”, which is thought to be a reference to the talks between owner Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and an unnamed investor which could see the Saudi Arabian royal relinquish control after four years at the helm.

The English Football League has announced that Sheffield United are under a transfer embargo: Ashley Allen/Getty ImagesThe English Football League has announced that Sheffield United are under a transfer embargo: Ashley Allen/Getty Images
The English Football League has announced that Sheffield United are under a transfer embargo: Ashley Allen/Getty Images

“The board of directors would like to assure supporters that promotion to the Premier League remains the primary objective this season and will continue to support Paul Heckingbottom and the team,” United added.