It’s been reported recently that Reece Oxford will likely be riding the pine at Reading for the rest of the season, as the Championship outfit look to make a push for promotion to the Premier League. This is bad news to begin with, but it’s made worse by the present injury crisis happening at West Ham United. It would have been nice to see the club recall its young star, but, apparently, there’s no clause in Reece Oxford’s contract that states that the Hammers could recall him, even in an emergency such as Winston Reid being out for the rest of the season.
This has been said a lot but Oxford is on loan to reading and I don't think we can recall him https://t.co/FMsGWUHaxH— ExWHUemployee (@ExWHUemployee) March 11, 2017
There were initial concerns that Reading may not agree to let the Hammers recall Oxford, partially because they won’t be able to replace him with it being outside of a transfer window, and partially because of a row between Slaven Bilic and Jaap Stam, who, funnily enough, was just tipped to take Bilic’s job. The initial concerns were confirmed, though, albeit for different reasons, when we took a look at the the new 2016/17 loan rules. There was an update before this season that made it so the teams involved with a loan could terminate it at any time, so long as they both agree in writing:
Subject to the proviso that the duration of a Standard Loan must be the time between two Transfer Windows, Standard Loans can be for half a season or a full season. Any recall clause requiring the early termination of a Standard Loan can only be included in a full season Standard Loan and this can only be activated during the second (January) Transfer Window. Any other early termination of a Standard Loan must be by way of a mutual agreement in writing (including by way of a recall clause within the Standard Loan Agreement) between both Clubs and the Player but can only be completed after the expiry of 28 days and only during a Transfer Window.
(a) Scholars who are in the second or third (if that option is exercised) year of their Scholarship Agreement; or
(b) Contract Players aged 20 or under on 1st July immediately preceding the Season in question, may be registered on a Youth Loan.
Youth Loans may not extend beyond the date of the Player's 21st birthday.
Emergency Loans and Youth Loans may contain a break clause but only where that break clause is exercisable after the expiry of the initial 28 day period of the loan.
Unfortunately, if one were to read the bolded text under 53.2.2, they would see that the written agreement between clubs to terminate a loan must be during a transfer window — assumingly so the club with the loanee on their squad doesn’t get done over and will be able to replace the loaned player.
So, essentially, without a recall clause in Oxford’s contract—and it doesn’t seem that there is—the Hammers are sh*t out of luck. They’ve now just got to deal with their injury crisis the only way they know how: wallowing in misery, playing terribly, and possibly ending up in a relegation scrap. The West Ham Way.