FIFA is to introduce new rules that will drastically reduce the number of players clubs can loan out each season.
One of the primary aims of the new rules is to prevent clubs from stockpiling players.
By the start of the 2024-25 season, clubs will only be allowed to sent six players over the age of 21 out on loan. The reduction in loan numbers will have a graduated introduction, starting from July 1 of this year.
Chelsea have been the market leader for a number of years in the loaning of players out to other clubs. Currently, 22 of their players are on loan elsewhere.
The case of Lewis Baker recently highlighted the mountain of unused players at the Premier League club. His appearance against Chesterfield in the FA Cup 3rd round was just his second for the club and came eight years after his debut.
Baker - now at Stoke City - had loan spells at eight different clubs between Chelsea outings.
Chelsea could be particularly hard-hit by FIFA's new rules, with 14 of their 22 loanees now aged 21 or over.
Starting this summer, the amount of loans out will be limited to eight, the following year seven, and then down to 6 from the summer of 2024.
FIFA say players brought through clubs' youth systems will be exempt.
Their new framework will include:
The requirement of a written agreement defining the terms of the loan, in particular its duration and financial conditions
A minimum loan duration, being the interval between two registration periods, and a maximum loan duration, being one year
A prohibition on sub-loaning a professional player who is already on loan to a third club
A limitation on the number of loans per season between the same clubs: at any given time during a season, a club may only have a maximum of three professionals loaned out to a single club and a maximum of three professionals loaned in from a single club
A limitation on a club’s total number of loans per season.
The rules will be submitted to the next FIFA Council meeting for approval.