Friday, April 03, 2020
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The Football League has voted in favour of ensuring teams have a minimum of four homegrown players out of sixteen in their match day squads. The motion was given overwhelming support, with only one of sixty-seven clubs voting against it. Lord Mawhinney, chairman of the Football League, described the move as ‘historic.’   

 

The four homegrown players rule is UEFA’s response to FIFA’s 6+5 rule which set out to limit the number of foreign players, conflicting with EU law. The rule stipulates that four homegrown players will have to have been registered domestically for a minimum of three seasons prior to their 21st birthday. They can, however, be of any nationality. In contrast to that of the world governing body, UEFA’s proposal guards against undesirable squad compositions sets out to ensure youth development facilities are paramount to clubs.   

 

Although it will have little affect on the majority of the sides within the Football League themselves, they are the first leagues in Europe to adopt such a system and it is likely to have wider implications. If the quota-system were applied to the Premier League it would have a dramatic effect. Clubs such as Chelsea, Arsenal, Blackburn and Fulham would struggle to meet the quota in certain circumstances.  

 

The knock-on effect would likely be a further rise in the price of domestic talent, with clubs left without the option of a cheap foreign alternative. Although this will affect top-flight teams, the reasoning is that bigger clubs will  have to pay more for lower league talent resulting in a more equitable distribution of wealth within the national game, as well as encouraging youth development at all levels.  

 

The move ultimately signifies the creeping influence of Michele Platini, with Mawhinney even praising the UEFA president after the vote. “We agree with Uefa president Michel Platini that young players are the backbone of the teams,” said the Football League chairman.

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