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UEFA Domestic Quotas Rules


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Uefa sets foreign player limits


Uefa president Lennart Johansson wants to restrict foreign players

Uefa has announced clubs competing in the Champions League and Uefa Cup will have to include four homegrown players in their 25-man squad from 2006.

Europe's governing body also wants to implement the plan in domestic leagues but that will have to be agreed by each national association.

Uefa then wants six homegrown players by 2007 and eight in 2008.

Of the eight, at least four must be trained by the club's own academy and the rest in the home country.

Uefa defines a club-trained player as one who has been registered for a minimum of three seasons with the club between the age of 15 and 21.

Of the 32 sides in last season's Champions League, five clubs would have not had enough homegrown players.

They are: Arsenal, Chelsea, Celtic, Rangers and Ajax.

Uefa's 52 member associations will vote on whether the same rule should apply to domestic competitions at a Congress in Tallinn, Estonia in April.

There has already been strong opposition voiced by the Premier League and the Italian federation.

But Uefa chief executive Lars-Christer Olsson said: "We think this is a reasonable compromise based on all the consultations we have had.

"Although we have had negative responses from some leagues and some bigger clubs in those leagues, all the others involved have been very supportive of this idea.

"We also think the proposal is legal, because it is a sporting rule, not as a restriction, to develop and promote young players." ----------------

Comment: Another way for Canadians to be restricted in playing in Europe. Another reason we need some more options, any options, to play closer to home to develop and to career in footie.

I expect that the rules will be challenged as being contrary to EU labour and competition law, as the club ownership and domestic qupota rules were in 1995. I epxect that if the challenge is successful, the decision, a la 1995, would be something like: Quotas for EU passport players versus non-EU players are okay, but not quotas for players of countries. The "development" angle is just an artifice to try to impose domestic quotas, and will probably be found as illegal, that is unless the European Parliment brings in exemption legislation (this may be a manouver to force them to get involved in producing some legislation dealing with football issues, which they have hitherto refused to do).

The German Football Association has already brought in rules to start limiting the number of non-EU players at each club, which would not have legal problems.

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COLUMN-Soccer-UEFA plan could impact most in the playground

By Mike Collett

LONDON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - UEFA's plans to introduce minimum quotas of homegrown players for Europe's biggest clubs are unlikely to have the intended impact on the make-up of those teams.

Ironically, they could have most impact in an area far removed from the glitz and glamour of the Champions League.

The area affected is more likely to be the school playground or the muddy scrap of land where the first shoots of sporting genius come to the surface.

UEFA is insisting that by 2008 clubs taking part in UEFA's competitions must include eight players in their 25-man squads who have been home grown.

They would also like the system to be adopted by national associations for their domestic leagues.

As match-day squads in the Champions League, UEFA Cup and Intertoto Cup consist of 18 players, only one homegrown player needs to be included in those squads to make them valid -- the other seven non-playing members still comprise the 25-man squad but do not need to be involved in the match.

Is this just a cosmetic move by UEFA? Is it a move to make it appear that, for example, Arsenal really are an English club rather than l'Arsenal, a French club who happen to be based in London?

Leading figures in the European game, indeed even a leading figure at l'Arsenal, have differing opinions.

Thomas Kurth, the general manager of G14, the cartel of Europe's leading clubs, is worried that big clubs will target potential professionals barely into their teens and that the market for young hopefuls will become even more cut-throat than it already is.

"It is already poorly regulated and this move will expose even younger players to even more risk," he said.

David Dein, the vice-chairman of Arsenal, whose successes over the last decade have largely been built on French manager Arsene Wenger and a nucleus of French players he monitored as youngsters, is predicting legal action will be taken against the move.

"It's a scaling down process," he said. "We've got the best league in the world and you tamper with it at your peril."

Then, agreeing with Kurth's fears he says: "There will be a great danger that clubs will bring younger-aged players and their families to the country so they have three years to make them homegrown players."

But Dein has missed the point. Arsenal already have 16 and 17-year-olds playing in their first team who would qualify for homegrown status by the age of 19 and 20 in any case.

Arsenal have an aggressive policy of securing young overseas talent and have been criticised for doing so. What Dein appears to be really worried about is his first team squad being denuded by the ruling, but at a club like Arsenal that is an impossibility.

If Arsenal have a bad season every so often, that is part of football's nature and has been ever since the game began.


European law forbids discrimination by nationality so UEFA have been careful not to insist that a French club, for example, has to include eight French players in its squad, or an English club eight Englishmen.

Instead it is defining homegrown players as any who have been developed through the youth ranks of that club, or a club in the same country, or at the national academy of the club's national football association for at least three years between the ages of 15 and 21.

In most cases, most clubs who will be affected by the ruling if it is adopted by UEFA at its annual congress in Tallinn in April will easily comply with that ruling.

Most of Europe's biggest and richest clubs already have well-established scouting and youth systems which nurture the best young talent from as young as the age of eight.

Even clubs some way from Champions League standard scout the world for the best young players. Fulham, for example, have scouts working for them as far away as Brazil and South Africa.

UEFA are to be applauded for at least trying to restore a sense of national identity back into the fabric of their leading clubs -- or at least a sense of identity between the supporters and the players they worship.

Whether it makes any difference in the long run is debatable.

Dein might well be right and the ruling will be challenged in the courts.

There would be those who might applaud such a move if it was to protect young lads from being exploited at an early age by unscrupulous clubs.

But clubs might not garner such support if the footballing public and authorities at large perceived such a move to be done at the behest of already wealthy clubs just wanting to selfishly protect their own positions even further.

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Dein attacks 'home-grown' quotas

Jon Brodkin

Friday February 4, 2005

The Guardian

Arsenal's vice-chairman David Dein last night said he expected that there would be a legal challenge to a Uefa ruling which will require clubs competing in the Champions League and Uefa Cup to have a defined number of "homegrown" players in their squads.

European football's governing body will insist that clubs must have at least four such players in their 25-man squads from 2006-07, with the number rising to six a season later and finally to eight for 2008-09.

Uefa would like the scheme adopted by domestic leagues across Europe to encourage clubs to bring more players through academies and to field more local talent. It believes this would ease the dominance of a few clubs in leagues and club competitions.

Dein believes the ruling "restricts the free movement of workers" and said: "It's misguided and it will almost certainly be challenged."

Under the ruling, half the "home-grown" players will have to come through a club's own academy and half from the academies of other clubs in the same country.

Nationality would not be an issue, with a player qualifying as home-grown if he has been registered for a minimum of three seasons with a club between the age of 15 and 21. It means Arsenal's Jérémie Aliadière would count as home-grown now and Cesc Fábregas would do so after three years at Highbury.

Dein believes the proposals would lead to clubs recruiting even younger players from abroad and he feels the Premiership would suffer if the idea were introduced domestically.

The proposal will be voted on by Uefa's 52 national associations in April and the Premier League said it was "extremely unlikely" to bring in the rules.

"Few squads would meet the proposals and the quality of the league would suffer," said Dein.

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