The last few days and hours of the transfer window is always a hectic period as the 20 Premier League clubs rush to complete their business with the Premier League before the deadline.
Premierleague.com looks at the mechanics of how a transfer deal is completed.
How does a club begin the process of completing a player signing?
In order to register a player, clubs have to send the Premier League all the documents relating to the transfer, including the contract, the transfer agreement, permission to work in the UK (if required), international clearance if transferring from abroad as well as any transfer levy that may apply.
As the transfer deadline approaches, clubs are asked whether they are planning to complete any business so that the Premier League's Football Operations and Regulatory departments are prepared. The office is staffed late into the night to answer any queries from clubs but generally they will conclude the deal club to club and then submit the paperwork.
What is the Premier League's role in the transfer process?
Once the paperwork is received, it is checked against the Premier League and Football Association rules. In some cases the transfer needs to comply with FIFA regulations, too. If there are any issues the club is contacted for clarification or more information accordingly.
The Premier League will then advise the club if the player is registered or not and whether the signing is pending further to the receipt of additional documentation, for example; international clearance or an amendment. This check is completed straightaway because clubs want to know as soon as possible whether or not all the necessary paperwork is in order.
It does get busy. In one window recently, approximately 30 transfers came through in the space of an hour. Staff will not go home until everything is checked.
What is the 'deal sheet'?
Clubs sometimes conclude deals at the last minute and it is not always easy for them to get everything completed and sent over by the deadline. The deal sheet allows a club to confirm that a deal has been reached in order to allow for additional time to submit the remaining documentation.
For an 11pm deadline, the deal sheet cannot be used prior to 9pm and needs to arrive fully completed before the transfer window closes. Once the sheet arrives, clubs have got until 1am in which to submit the full paperwork. But if a club are looking to complete an international transfer, it still has to comply with the FIFA Transfer Matching System (TMS) deadline of midnight.
What is FIFA's Transfer Matching System?
When there is an international transfer, the buying and selling clubs have to register it on the TMS in order for international clearance to be generated.
The buying club have to upload all the information to the system and the foreign club have to match all the details. Our FA will request clearance and as long everything matches; the foreign association will issue clearance to the FA, who then informs the club and League.
The Premier League receives a copy because we need to ensure that players coming in have had their registration transferred to this country, or Wales in the case of Welsh clubs, e.g. Swansea City.
How does the work-permit process work? When is this process completed?
The work-permit criteria are detailed in the Premier League rules. A player has to meet the criteria if he requires permission to work in the UK.
A club needs to have applied for a work permit prior to the window closing.
What are the rules governing the third-party ownership of players?
The Premier League outlawed third-party ownership of players in 2007. We need to be satisfied that any player joining a Premier League club has no third party interests in his registration rights in order for him to be formally registered.
We believe that the practice threatens the integrity of competitions, reduces the flow of transfer income into the sport and has the potential to exert external influence on player transfer decisions. A club needs to own 100% of a player's registration and so-called 'economic rights' cannot be split out.
The perception is of transfer documentation being submitted through a fax machine, is that the case any more?
Clubs have a number of options in which to send documents through. This is helpful to the clubs because they might be having difficulty in getting through with one of the methods.
The fax machine has now been retired but clubs have the option of sending desktop faxes and scanned documents via e-mail.
If there is a problem and a club does not meet the 11pm deadline then the Premier League Board has the ability to either refuse the application or grant an application and, if thought necessary, impose conditions by which the club making the application and the player shall be bound.