Yawn Quotas Yawn

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I know I’ve talked about this before, but that was before the old East Lower meltdown, and anyway, it’s back in the news, so here we go again…

UEFA has finally gone ahead with its plan to increase the amount of ‘home-grown’ talent in a club’s vault, and in classic European fashion, it’s been pushed through despite the reservations of some of the big European clubs (ours included). From the season after next, we’ll need to have four home-grown players in our 25-man European squad.

Of course, the key to the equation here are the words ‘home’ and ‘grown’. For that season (2006-7), we’ll need two players developed in our own academy, plus two developed in another academy within our national association.

Although it won’t apply to the Premier League, it’s clear that, should it go ahead, it’s going to have wide repercussions, if not initially then certainly by 2008, when the quotas (a favourite EU word if ever there was one) rise to eight.

If a player has spent three years in an academy between the age of 15 and 21, he is ‘home-grown’, regardless of his nationality, something that bypasses EU rules on freedom of movement.

And there’s the loophole, folks: To stick to the rules, clubs will end up bringing in players from Europe at an even younger age.

Here’s the proof already – Taylor, Cole, Aliadiere, Cesc, Bentley, Hoyte and Campbell all qualify, while Senderos and Clichy, amongst others, will in another year. Four of those young players are not English.

The rules were introduced to encourage more English players to be brought through at English clubs (or Spanish at Spanish clubs, etc), but they’re flawed from the outset because, under European law, you can’t push one nationality ahead of another.

I’ve always advocated Wenger bringing in more English players, but with almost no exceptions (arguments about Upson and Taylor rumble on), he’s never ditched a player who was English, and who has gone on to be a world-beater.

If there’s an English player available at the club who is as good as, or better than, the first-team player he is trying to oust, he’ll get a game, as has been proved by Cole, Hoyte and Bentley. But the same applies – rightly – to young Swiss, Italian or Martian boys – indeed players from all galaxies.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. vivb

    These rules will only apply to Europe, Bolton, Portsmouth etc will still be able to pack their teams with mediocre foreign talent. It seems a way of ensuring the price of English talent increases. Especially as Chelsea appear to be acquiring the bulk of the England squad.

    Of your list Taylor, Cole, Aliadiere, and Bentley have all expressed inclinations to leave. Can we expect AW to bid for Sidwell to return? These quotas are supposed to double in 2 years time as well.

  2. halfNice

    All of this has never really made sense to me. They’re curing symptoms and ignoring the real problem

    Protectionism isn’t anything new. Developing countries limit importation to protect their (young and growing) industries till they get to the stage where they can compete with established industries in the developed world. But what do we have here? Europe (the birthplace of football) protecting itself from Africa and South America? If we’re scared of poor African and South American countries, could it just be that our children are spending too much time playing football on the Xbox and too little time playing it on the pitch? Maybe that’s the problem they should address and stop coming up with stupid quotas that’ll just encourage mediocrity.

  3. Withnail and Ian Ure

    Totally agree with halfNice. If they stop talent arriving from elsewhere all we will see if a dropping of standards as the pool of English kids diminishes. My boy’s team struggles to find 11 players each week, and those who turn up struggle to play well.
    This is not just England but Europe-wide.
    With this ruling all that will happen is the trawling of European, African, Asian etc. acadamies will increase and those who can afford it are those are are already buying them ready-made.
    Chances are someone will eventually raise a legal challenge. I do not see how this is not a restraint of trade.

  4. Adam.T

    time for a breakaway super competition,get rid of champions league,thats what this will cause.the big clubs were considering it already.

  5. Farnborough Gunner

    This could also lead to a situation where a club qualifies for the CL on the basis of domestic form, but then has to put a weakened squad into the CL the next year to satisfy the quota rules. I can’t see how this could be good for the club, their home league or the CL.

    Do you remember when teams could only field 2 foreign players for European matches? Early-mid 1990s? ManU could not repeat their domestic form in Europe because they had to leave some of their best players out. Not that I have much sympathy for ManU, but in principle why should a club have to field a weakened team?

    Also, imagine supporting a team that cannot repeat it’s domestic form in Europe. (urm…).

  6. Rachel

    Hey I no this has nothin to do with wat the article is about and I am sorry but Van Persie needs ur help. I was on the FA website the other day and there is a poll. Who was best player of the FA Cup semi’s Van Persie or Van Horses**t, the other day VP11 was 57% whilst now he is 51% and goin down. Please everyone get to http://www.thefa.com and vote for our young dutch lad. Dunt let horses**t win.

  7. halfNice

    I’ve just cast my vote. And, if it lets me, I’ll vote again a little later.

  8. Dan

    All well in saying we need English players, but wot English players that are realistically available who would improve our team?, SWP springs to mind but he is still a £15million player (who has only had one good full season). As soon as the word Chelsea is associated with a player his price rockets £10million more than he’s worth.

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