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Ziyech to Chelsea potentially delayed as FIFA announces contract & transfer window guidelines

FIFA have announced guidelines for clubs and leagues to avoid the myriad of legal and contractual problems caused by COVID-19.

Contracts are set to expire on June 30, but it is likely games will be played beyond that date, as FIFA and UEFA have lifted their original deadline of finishing the current season.

Should this happen, issues will undoubtedly arise between clubs and players who have expiring contracts.

A task force was recently created by FIFA to look at the best options, led by vice-president and chairman of the Fifa Football Stakeholders Committee, Vittorio Montagliani, along with representatives from clubs, leagues, players, confederations and national associations.

The task force has recommended that contracts are extended to the end date of the current season, whatever that may be.

They also stated transfers scheduled to happen this summer, like Hakim Ziyech's move to Chelsea from Ajax, be delayed until the new season commences.

Gianni Infantino, the Fifa president, said: "The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly changed all the factual circumstances around football for this season.

"So, Fifa, together with the stakeholders, has come up with some practical ideas and proposals to tackle these new circumstances. Whilst this will not solve each and every problem, it should serve to bring a measure of stability and clarity to football for the foreseeable future.

"We hope that this collaborative effort, under the leadership of FFifaFA, can provide a positive example of how football can come together and show unity, solidarity and a spirit of compromise in order to face the challenging times ahead. But before these times come, one thing must be clear to everyone, especially now: health comes first, well before football."

The FIFA guidelines state: "Where an agreement is due to expire at the original end date of a season, such expiry be extended until the new end date of the season.

"Where an agreement is due to commence at the original start date of a new season, such commencement be delayed until the new start date of a new season.

"In the event of overlapping seasons and/or registration periods, and unless all parties agree otherwise, priority be given to the former club to complete their season with their original squad, in order to safeguard the integrity of a domestic league, MA competition and continental competition."

FIFA also confirmed it was going to move the summer transfer window to accommodate any changes to the off-season schedule, whenever that happens.

"Fifa will be flexible and will allow the relevant transfer windows to be moved so they fall between the end of the old season and the start of the new season.

"At the same time, Fifa will try to ensure, where possible, an overall level of coordination and will also bear in mind the need to protect the regularity, integrity and proper functioning of competitions, so that the sporting results of any competition are not unfairly disrupted."

While FIFA have announced their stance on the issues, they are unable to enforce employment laws in different countries.

This means individual associations will ultimately have to make the final decision as they look to resolve these unprecedented issues.

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