UEFA have finally confirmed that they are bringing an end to the much dreaded ‘cup-tied’ rule, and the change will be put in place from the start of the 2018/19 season.
Up until this season, the rules stated that any player who had represented or had been named in the 23-man squad of one club participating in the Champions League, could not represent another club in the competition in that same season. More often that not, this rule has been a massive hindrance to players switching clubs in the January transfer window.
Philippe Coutinho is a prime example for the struggles players and clubs had to face with this rule. The Brazilian had already appeared for Liverpool in the Champions League before his January move to Barcelona, meaning he cannot represent the Catalan giants in the upcoming rounds as he is cup-tied.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang moved from Borussia Dortmund to Arsenal in the winter window, but he hasn’t been able to represent his new side in the Europa League because his former employers were eliminated in the group stages of the Champions League and dropped down into Europe’s second-tier competition.
Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan swapped between Manchester United and Arsenal in January, but were both allowed to be registered, as both clubs started off in different competitions.
From next season onwards though, there won’t be any similar complications. UEFA has allotted each participating club three slots free of restrictions for new players.
They have also decided to allow a fourth substitution if a game goes to extra-time, as well as larger matchday selections for teams in finals.
A statement read: “Regarding the registration of players after a group stage of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, a club may register three new eligible players without any restrictions.
“This is in line with the existing regulatory situation in the different domestic leagues, which does not impose restrictions on the eligibility for competitions of players registered for a new club during the winter transfer window.”