FA may tweak home-grown player rule

LONDON - Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has proposed changes to the home-grown player rule in English football to help more "top quality" English players break through.

He wants a reduction in the maximum number of non-home-grown players permitted in a club's 25-strong first-team squad from 17 to 13, phased in over four years from 2016.

"In 2014, just 23 English players were playing Champions League football. That compares with 78 Spanish players, 55 from Germany and even 51 from Brazil - and the numbers will only get worse. If we want to maintain a national side capable of competing against the world's best, we need change," Dyke said in an FA statement.

One area confirmed for change, following discussions with the Home Office, concerns existing work-permit regulations "to ensure only the most talented non-EU (non-European Union) players meet new criteria".

Dyke set up the England Commission in 2013 to look at ways of improving the chances of young English talent succeeding at the highest levels of the game.

The commission identified a lack of quality coaching and a lack of opportunities for home-grown players to play competitive first-team football between the ages of 18 and 21.

"As the body responsible for all of English football, it's the FA's duty to create as many opportunities as possible for young home-grown talent to compete at the highest level," Dyke said.

"The Premier League clubs, who invest millions of pounds through their academies and the Elite Player Performance Programme, are doing a fantastic job at developing young talent. But many of the home-grown players being developed at these academies are not breaking through to play regular first-team football.

"The Premier League has already recognised the problem and introduced home-grown player quotas. But since those rules were introduced in 2010, the average number of home-grown players in a Premier League squad has stayed largely the same, and has actually decreased significantly at the 12 clubs who have been ever present in the league during that period."

The FA will now embark on a period of consultation with all stakeholders in English football, with the stated aim of introducing these changes over a phased four-season period so that they are fully in force by the start of the 2019-2020 season.