What is a Release Clause?
It’s basically a clause inserted into a player’s contract that permits other clubs to attempt to sign that player, providing they meet the amount in the clause. These have also been called buyout clauses but in FIFA 18 they are called release clauses.
They’re there to do a few things. Firstly, they almost work like a reserve price in an auction, it tends to be the minimum amount of money you’re willing to accept for that player. However, they are usually very high amounts. Secondly it’s usually a way of promising a player that he can move on should a big club come in for him. A legal clause in a contract is much better than a gentleman’s agreement!
Real Madrid recently hit the headlines for giving Isco and Marco Asensio new contracts with €700 million release clauses in them. Luckily, transfer fees don’t tend to go that high in career mode.
How are Release Clauses assigned?
Firstly, some players are assigned them at the start of your game. They’re certainly in the minority, most players won’t have one. It is somewhat random which players are selected for this but I’ve noticed that players that have recently transferred will often be given one. The amounts vary but a given player will often have the exact same amount. For example, if Amath Ndiaye Diedhiou does have a release clause, it will be £26.8m.
Secondly, they are assigned when a new contract is signed. This can happen either when you sign a new player or even when you give an existing player a new contract. During the contract negotiations, either you can suggest adding one or the player’s agent will demand it.
You might ask why you’d choose to put a clause in yourself but I think there are two possibilities that might make some sense. First of all, putting an insanely high release clause on a star player might deter any bids below that amount. Secondly, putting a very reasonable release clause on a player you’re looking to move on might be a good way to get rid of them faster. I’ll cover the ins and outs of actually setting a clause in the contract negotiation guide.
What is the Typical Value of a Release Clause?
In terms of their value, they tend to be around two times the player value when set by the computer. This is just a guide though, some will be slightly less than that and others might be approaching 3X. Also bear in mind that as a player grows, there is potential for their actual value to exceed the release clause. I’ve seen this happen with at least one player, so you can potentially sign them very cheaply.
How do I find out if a player has a release clause?
Remember I just said that they’re assigned randomly? This includes your team too. At the start of a new career mode I’d advise you to check if any of your players have one. Go into the squad hub, cycle to the Financial tab and look on the right hand tile next to the player’s wages. If any of your players have one, you can either leave them as they are or try and renegotiate their contract with them.
For players of other clubs it’s slightly different. You won’t know if a player has a release clause until you shortlist him and then view him in the transfer hub. The information will be visible on the right hand side, alongside their value and wages.
Clubs won’t sell newly signed players, but release clauses can get around this. Look out for the status that reads ‘The team will not sell this player but we can negotiate with him directly if you pay his release clause’.
How do I activate a release clause?
Thankfully this is really easy. Within the transfer hub, just select the player and hit ‘Approach to Buy’. A small notification will pop up, telling you that you can simply pay the release clause and skip straight to negotiating with the player. If you select this option, you’ll be returned to the transfer hub and you can begin contract negotiations if you wish.
What if another club activates a release clause on your player?
This is probably the moment you’ve been dreading. One of the key players in your team has just had his release clause met by another club and they’re about to start negotiating a contract with him. What do you do? It’s really up to you to be honest. You can just let it play out and accept that you’ll probably lose the player. In that scenario, hopefully the clause is substantial so that you can afford to replace the player.
If however you don’t want to lose the player, you do have another option. Simply offer them a new contract. This seems to work most of the time. Obviously you’ll need to do this immediately as it will only take the other club a few days to agree terms with the player. It’s not foolproof, they could reject your contract offer (so be generous!). If this happens there’s really nothing you can do.
In my personal opinion, I think release clauses are a great addition to career mode. If used correctly, they present another challenge for managers to deal with. I think it was too easy to keep hold of your best players in previous games.
Previous: Transfer Hub
Next: Transfer Negotiations