Mercato. Joker, medical joker, free player… How Ligue 1 clubs can still recruit


On his own, Bamba Dieng was the soap opera of the last day of the transfer window, this Thursday 1er september. First announced in Lorient, then in Leeds, it was finally in Nice that he had his medical examination. Carried out in disaster, the latter detected a problem, which explains why to this day, the Senegalese striker is still under contract with Olympique de Marseille. But that doesn’t mean that the player will stay on the Marseille bench and won’t wear the Aiglons jersey soon…

French clubs have the right to a joker

In 2019, it was Valentin Rongier who failed to leave FC Nantes for Olympique de Marseille within the time limit. But in the end, the midfielder played the 2019-2020 season well in Marseille. For this, Marseille used the “joker” player rule.

In 2019, Valentin Rongier joined Olympique de Marseille as a “joker” player. | REUTERS

Regarding this case, the LFP explains in its regulations: “A club may from the day after the last day of the first main registration period until the day before the first day of the additional registration period, recruit a so-called “joker” player. »

This additional recruitment is subject to certain conditions, the main one being that the targeted player is already playing in France. A case where Bamba Dieng ticks all the boxes, which explains, as revealed The Athletic that the transfer around the Senegalese could be completed soon, despite the closure of the market.

A “joker” AND a “medical joker”

This case of the « joker » should not be confused with that of the « medical joker », which is another way for a club to strengthen itself outside the transfer period. But for this lever to be activated, certain conditions must be met, unlike the joker which is granted to all Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs.

Here, only the « death of a player under contract » or the « serious injury of a player under contract, during a selection of the France team, if this injury causes the player to be incapacitated for a period greater than or equal to three months ». Thus, the injury in selection of a tricolor international field player can allow a club to use this medical joker. The rule therefore does not apply to internationals from another country.

Goalkeepers are also an exception, since if a porter under contract is injured, in selection or not, his team can use the medical joker for another goalkeeper only.

And, again, the target players must play in Ligue 1 or Ligue 2.

READ ALSO. Ligue 1. Why did the transfer window close at 11 p.m. this year instead of midnight?

The free players

Finally, the last way for a French club to strengthen itself outside the transfer window is to call on a player who is free of any contract. We remember in France Hatem Ben Arfa, who joined Stade Rennais, Bordeaux or Lille in this way.



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