Wenger took a slightly stronger stance, and called the rule ‘a disastrous decision for football’, and for one of the first times I am compelled to agree with Mr Wenger.
The 25 man limit is bad enough, but when you add in the ‘home grown’ element, the farce continues. A player is counted as being ‘home grown’ if between the ages of 16 – 21 he has spent three years training at an English or Welsh club. The rule means that a player such as Cesc Fabregas would qualify as home grown, a SPANISH international, whereas someone like Owen Hargreaves, an ENGLISH international, would not due to spending his youth abroad.
Not only this but the development of a young player could now be seriously disrupted by them being thrust into the first team squad when they are no-where near ready for it. The effects of this are potentially disastrous, with their morale and confidence possibly being shattered, amongst other things.
It also forces managers to have to either use the place of another player for a young home grown player should they not reach the 8 player target or face having a smaller squad. For smaller clubs with less of a budget they potentially have to pass over the signing of a quality foreign player and buy a home grown player for more money who possesses less ability.
Again the bigger clubs still have the advantage, and can afford to pay both top prices for the young players and tempt them with huge wage packets. Smaller clubs may actually be in a worse position with regards to having young English players in their squad than before the ruling because of this.
The issue of poaching youngsters is something that has long been in the modern game, yet will only increase with this ruling. If a club can get their hands on a young player and train them up for three years they will then count as home grown and can be one of their 8. How this helps young English talent remains to be seen.
In a further own goal by the FA, the rule does not actually mean that there is a minimum or maximum number of home grown players you have to have, this is the part of the rule that is often misinterpreted – what the rule actually states is that you can name 17 players who are not home grown. In theory therefore a squad of 17 non home grown players could be named.
We can all remember the first time Wenger fielded a team consisting of no English players and the furore that surrounded this, yet he could still do this with his entire 25 man squad if he wished, as long as the 8 players in the ‘home grown’ category had spent 3 years before they turned 21 in England.
The FA would tell you that the definition of ‘home grown’ has to be that way due to EU protections, and that is fair enough yet they cannot then use the excuse that the reason for the rule is to help young English players when it clearly is not.
Clearly both the 25 man limit and the definition of ‘home grown’ have not had the impact the FA desired, yet what do you think of the rule? Am I wrong? Is it a good one? Comment below or follow me on twitter @RebeccaKnight01
Written by Rebecca Knight for FootballFanCast.com
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