ISL 2018-19: How ATK signed Emiliano Alfaro from Pune City outside transfer window

Emiliano Alfaro's move to ATK from FC Pune City was made official on Sunday
Emiliano Alfaro's move to ATK from FC Pune City was made official on Sunday
Aravind Suchindran

Indian Super League franchise ATK announced that they have roped in Emiliano Alfaro as a replacement for injured striker Kalu Uche on a loan deal from FC Pune City on Sunday, November 19. But what puzzled most was how Alfaro was allowed to join a different club in the middle of a season and when the transfer window is shut.

Well, according to the AIFF player guidelines for the ISL, they CAN.

Alfaro, who is not enjoying the best of form right now, sought a way out of Pune City - lodged at the bottom of the ISL table without a win in seven matches. The team is going through a rough patch, having fired head coach Miguel Angel Portugal after just three games. They are now helmed by interim coach Pradhyum Reddy and the former assistant to Portugal did not field Alfaro in Pune City's last two games.

The Uruguayan lost the captain's arm-band to Marcelinho as well and was desperately looking for a side that would welcome him.

ATK, placed sixth on the table, lost their target Kalu Uche to a calf injury. The Nigerian flew back to Barcelona for treatment and is not expected to return for the rest of the season.

This paved the way for the Kolkatan outfit to sign Alfaro on a loan deal. According to AIFF's guidelines, a club is allowed to name a replacement for a player who is injured or whose contract has been terminated.

In this case, Uche is out and ATK have the option of bringing in another player for the rest of the season.

But the big question is how Alfaro's move to Kolkata took place outside the transfer window.

Well, the AIFF regulations permit an inter-club transfer (a move among the ISL clubs) ONCE during the entire season for a player to take the place of another, who is injured or out of a contract. The AIFF regulations specify that a player can feature for a maximum of two clubs in a season.

In this case, Alfaro has shifted loyalties to ATK because of the injury to Uche. There was no necessity for both the clubs to await the opening of the winter transfer window to close the deal.

Suppose ATK no longer require the services of Alfaro, he cannot move to a different club as he can only play for two clubs in a season.

What's more, once the inter-club transfer is done, the player cannot return to the club until the end of the season.

Even if Uche returns to ATK at some point, Alfaro will have to be with ATK itself. Given that ATK have already completed signing their quota of seven foreigners, Uche cannot be registered until someone else is let go.

Well, that's how Alfaro could change his club in the middle of the season in the ISL.

Alfaro's transfer allows FC Pune City to register a seventh foreigner. It's expected that Iain Hume, who is the eighth foreigner in the Pune squad (but not registered for the ISL), will move up to the main squad.

Edited by Sripad


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