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How Fulham can work around their transfer embargo and recruit new players this January

Craven Cottage club have been hit with ban after breaching Football League rules

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Man at the top: Fulham chairman Shahid Khan looks on

The January window is starting to heat up but Fulham supporters are still cursing a transfer embargo imposed on the club last month.

Fulham confirmed in a statement released at the end of the December that the club had made a loss greater than the £6million limit allowed by the Football League in the year following relegation.

But the transfer ban does not mean Craven Cottage is shut for business this winter and it could still be a busy few weeks for the west Londoners.

Ross McCormack and Moussa Dembele are both attracting attention as the Whites battle to keep hold of their star strikeforce.

Stoke City’s Steve Sidwell is being lined up for a return to the Cottage on a loan move, just one of the ways the Whites can work around the embargo.

Let’s take a closer look at the rules of the ban and how Fulham could still recruit fresh blood for the second half of the season…

Restrictions and loopholes

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Boss: Head coach Slavisa Jokanovic looks on

Fulham have been prevented from registering new players, whether they are coming to the football club on a loan or permanent basis, under the rules of Financial Fair Play.

However, the club is allowed to add new names to their roster if they have 24 or fewer established players, who are defined as being aged 21 or older and have at least five starting appearances for the club under their belt, on the books and certain other criteria are met.

The Whites cannot pay, or commit to pay, any transfer or compensation fees for a player. They are permitted to sign an emergency goalkeeper, but only in line with existing regulations.

For incoming players, clubs can only pay Agents’ Fees as a benefit in kind to the player in question (as long as they do not exceed the £600,000 employee costs limit).

Loans, like that of Sidwell’s rumoured one , can be agreed but no fees can be paid to the parent club. Fulham can pay a contribution of a loanee’s wage packet.

Replenishing the Fulham ranks

Transfer talk: Could Fulham's Ross McCormack leave in January?

If Fulham reach a stage where they have less than 24 established stars in their ranks, Slavisa Jokanovic will be able to start looking at replenishing his squad with signings.

But the Whites can only add a new addition, regardless of their age of playing experience, if the employee costs of a the signing are less than £600,000 per annum - or pro-rata if signed on a shorter contract.

It is also worth noting that the Championship club is allowed to register players under the age of 21 for non-first team matches.

Should there already be more than 24 players on the books, Fulham can still sign players on a ‘one in, one out basis’ this month.

There are restrictions on this though and the costs of bringing the player to west London cannot exceed either 75 per cent of the player heading out, or again, a maximum of £600,000 per annum - or pro-rata if signed on a shorter contract.

Club statement in full

Keeping the faith: A general view of Fulham fans before a match

Following the announcement made by the Football League, Fulham Football Club can confirm that it faces a transfer embargo during the January 2016 window.

The embargo arises as the club made an adjusted loss greater than the £6m limit allowed by the Football League in the year following relegation.

The Football League has since recognised this limit is low, especially for clubs recently relegated with Premier League overheads in place, and the limit has now increased to £13m per annum.

Unfortunately Fulham's embargo falls in the final year of the previous limit, but the club does not anticipate being in breach in future years.

The action imposed by the League has been anticipated since the summer, which saw a sustained period of investment in the team with that understanding.

The purchase of players such as Ross McCormack and Matt Smith (in summer 2014), to enable the club to compete effectively in the League, were the result of that investment.

The period of embargo will be imposed during January 2016 and the club will be able to fully trade again in the summer 2016 transfer window.

It will still be possible for the club to trade within the set FFP limits, and therefore the potential of recruiting players is still something that the club will look to do, if the right players are available.

2016 January transfer window

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