Quotas and Limits – the new squad rule

The original logo of The Premier League (1992–...

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Something has been bugging me lately. No, it’s not the new series of X-Factor or Big Brother’s pathetic spin-off. It’s something far more thought provoking. Why has the English Premier League imposed a squad limit and home-grown quota?

For those of you not in the know, each club will, at the end of every transfer window, have to name at least eight “home-grown” players in a squad of 25.

To qualify as home grown, a player will have had to be registered for at least three seasons at an English or Welsh club between the ages of 16 and 21.

In agreeing to a quota on “home-grown” players from the beginning of the 2010-11 season, Premier League clubs have been guided by UEFA‘s interest in the development of young players.

I know fans are thinking: “it stops wealthy clubs from stock-piling their squads” or “more young English players will get a chance”. Ok, I can see the logic behind that but why has this become exclusive to the English Premier League? I have done some research and the other top European leagues do not follow this format i.e. La Liga, Serie A, the Bundesliga etc.

Think of the scenario. It’s September 1st and a foreign player who is over the age of 21 has not been registered in his club’s 25-man squad for the season. What happens to that player? Does he sit at home until January watching Loose Women and Jeremy Kyle? It’s a ludicrous thought but not entirely unlikely.

Without going down the route of European law (this is a football blog) but isn’t this a contradiction on the Freedom of movement for workers? I have always been of the belief that if you’re good enough you’ll get a chance regardless of nationality. The likes of Gerrard, Lampard, Terry, Rooney and Ferdinand have reached the top-level because the coaches at their respective clubs knew they were good enough.

The same argument can be applied to squad limits. A large squad allows a manager to plan for all eventualities. Modern-day football is a squad game. No longer can a manager get by with his first choice starting 11 and a couple of subs. You now need a big squad to deal with the physical and mental factors of football. I’m not advocating a club having a squad of 40+ players but surely a manager and not Richard Scudamore should enforce how many players are needed for a 10 month season?

It’s not often that I agree with Arsene Wenger but he hit the nail on the head by saying ‘”the new rules are a disaster for this country, ridiculous. It is artificial and it is nothing to do with quality. They will create more rules like that for home-grown players and it’s all rubbish”.

The whole thing just baffles me. Maybe it will improve the future of English players and perhaps the bigger clubs won’t buy all the talent and put them in the reserves ala Man City. I just don’t see the bigger picture right now. Hmmm…where’s the nearest Specsavers?


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