Friday, February 04, 2005

UEFA have released details of how they intend to introduce restrictions on “foreign” players in European competition. Rather than set a limit on the number of “foreign” players (which would be illegal for EU nationals employed by EU clubs), they envisage a scheme whereby the clubs’ “A”-squad of 25 which are registered for UEFA competitions will have two places reserved for players who have come through the clubs own academy, and two places for those who have come through the youth schemes of clubs in the same national association. This is set to come into force for the 2006/07 season and the quota in each category will increase by one over the next two seasons, so that by 2008/09 each 25-man squad will have at least 4 club produced players and 4 home nation produced players.

Arsenal vice-chairman, David Dein, has revealed that the Premier League have unanimously opposed the proposals and hinted that legal action may be taken to prevent UEFA introducing such a rule, on the grounds that it is a restraint of trade for the players. He also added that few Premier League squads would currently meet the UEFA proposals. Without the time to peruse all 20 squads in details, I do wonder about the veracity of this claim. No doubt it is true for the “Big 5” (whichever clubs they are this week), but I find it hard to believe that the vast majority of Premier League clubs are unable to produce 2 players from their own academy who are good enough to break into a squad of 25

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