The FIFA rule that could affect Ethan Robson’s future at Sunderland amid football league loan interest

Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson is weighing-up midfielder Ethan Robson’s future - and will have to consider a FIFA rule when doing so.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 3:00 pm

The 23-year-old is set to return to the Academy of Light on Tuesday, with Parkinson set to hold talks with the academy product after his successful loan spell at Grimsby Town.

Robson made 21 appearances for the Mariners, netting three times in a spell which Parkinson admits has attracted interest from elsewhere.

The Black Cats could yet opt to send the Houghton-born midfielder out on loan again, but will have to be wary of a FIFA regulation when doing so.

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Sunderland midfielder Ethan Robson.

For the world’s governing body have implemented a ruling which means that while a player can be registered with three clubs in a season, they can only play competitive fixtures for two.

The full FIFA regulation reads: “Players may be registered with a maximum of three clubs during one season.

“During this period, the player is only eligible to play official matches for two clubs.

“As an exception to this rule, a player moving between two clubs belonging to associations with overlapping seasons (i.e. start of the season in summer/autumn as opposed to winter/spring) may be eligible to play in official matches for a third club during the relevant season, provided he has fully complied with his contractual obligations towards his previous clubs.”

And with Robson having already taken to the field for Grimsby, that means that he would be unable to play for another club were he to feature for Sunderland in any of their upcoming fixtures.

Parkinson, therefore, will have to consider this ruling when opting whether to include the midfielder against Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday, January 11.

Speaking about Robson’s future at the weekend, the Sunderland chief said: “He’s coming back with us, certainly for the time being,” added Parkinson.

“Grimsby haven’t made contact with us anyway about extending it. Obviously they’ve got a new manager.

“There have been other calls about his availability, but I want to chat with Ethan and have a look at him in the next week or so in training and decide where we go with him.”