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The FIFA loophole that allows Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to join LAFC

The 33-year-old striker is in talks with Chelsea to release him from his contract after being left out of the Champions League roster.

The 33-year-old striker is in talks with Chelsea to release him from his contract after being left out of the Champions League roster.
Justin Tallis/ POOLEFE

Los Angeles FC are scrambling to find a striker after Gareth Bale’s retirement and Cristian Arango’s departure for Liga MX side Pachuca. The Black & Gold received $5.5 million from Los Tuzos for the Colombian, the second-most lucrative sale in the club’s history, and they could use that money to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Negotiations with Chelsea

According to several reports, LAFC are in talks with Chelsea about potentially signing the 33-year-old ahead of the start of the 2023 MLS season, which is scheduled to begin on 25 February against city rivals LA Galaxy. Negotiations are said to be in the early stages and there is nothing close yet.

Aubameyang has been relegated to a secondary role at Chelsea this season and has scored one goal in 11 Premier League appearances. The striker from Gabon has been used more in the Champions League during the first part of the season, scoring two goals and provided one assist in six appearances in the tournament.

Chelsea was very active during the transfer window, spending around $400 million, and due to the amount of signings they made the club managed by Graham Potter has decided to exclude Aubameyang from the Champions League roster. He can still join the MLS side due to FIFA’s ‘overlapping season’ rule that gives him the opportunity to join LAFC.

“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,” according to the rule written by FIFA. “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.”

This could be the solution that Aubameyang is looking for in search of more minutes, because if he decides to stay at Chelsea he is aware that he will not see a lot of playing time. He has already played for Barcelona and Chelsea this season, but since the MLS season starts in February he can move to Los Angeles if all parties agree to the deal.


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