One of the items on the agendum of the Emergency General Meeting being held by the Football League next week is a proposal to introduce a 'home-grown' player rule. There appears to be some confusion as to what a 'home grown' player is. The BBC reported that it will be a player registered with any club affiliated to the English or Welsh Football Associations for 36 months or more prior to his 21st birthday - though it's not made clear whether that has to be the same club continuously, or whether the 36 months can be put together from spells at different clubs. However one club chairman seems to be under the impression it means having come through the club's own Academy or Centre of Excellence. The proposed rule is that a minimum of four home grown players must be named in each matchday squad.
As, by our calculations, Yeovil Town would only have one player, Craig Alcock, currently on its books who would fit the second scenario of qualification, while only one, Josh Wagenaar, would fail to qualify under the first scenario, the exact details of what is being proposed are rather crucial.
If players can qualify through connections to any English or Welsh club the plan appears to us to be mere political window dressing. What is the point? Are there really enough Football League clubs playing teams almost entirely created from players who have come up through Scottish, Irish and other foreign clubs to make creating a special rule worthwile? Or if it is to create an internal vertical progression up from a club's Centre of Excellence or Academy, through its Youth Team and into the First Team, a significantly lengthy time frame for introduction seems essential to make it remotely practical.
Generally this site has always been suspicious of artificial controls and regulations being imposed on football clubs and how they run themselves. They rarely do what they are introduced to do, however good the intentions, and the unexpected side effects are often more problematic than the ills they were supposed to cure. In this case anything that attempts to interfere in team selection just seems to play further into the hands of the haves over the have nots. It enhances the advantage of those who can already afford big squads over those who can't, with the former having the flexibility and likely range of quality available to cope, while the latter just face more constraints on how they juggle to get a sixteen (or maybe eighteen) onto the pitch within the rules.
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