FA's Greg Dyke announces plans to restrict non-EU players

Lack of English players pathetic - Dyke

FA chairman Greg Dyke has warned Premier League football is in danger of "having nothing to do with English people" as new proposals to limit the number of non-EU players are outlined by English football's governing body.

The FA has also revealed plans to toughen the rules on home-grown talent in the latest proposals from its commission, which was set up in 2013 to improve the England team.

The commission has also proposed changes to work permit rules having highlighted flaws in the system.

The stricter work-permit rules, approved by the Home Office on Friday, will come into force from 1 May.

Under the proposals outlined by the FA on Monday:external-link

  • A player will have to have been registered with his club from the age of 15 - down from 18 - to qualify as 'home-grown'.
  • The minimum number of home-grown players in a club's first-team squad of 25 will increase from eight to 12, phased over four years from 2016.
  • At least two home-grown players must also be 'club-trained' players - defined as any player, irrespective of nationality, that has been registered for three years at their club from the age of 15.
  • Only the best non-EU foreign players will be granted permission to play in England.

Dyke on spotting the next Harry Kane

Speaking to the BBC's sports editor Dan Roan, Dyke explained the rationale behind the FA's new proposals by highlighting the impact of Harry Kane.

The Tottenham striker, 21, only made his first Premier League start for Spurs in April 2014, and is this season's top scorer with 19 goals.

Harry Kane
Harry Kane has earned a first England call-up on the back of a superb season for Tottenham

"We have to do this by negotiation with the different leagues and with the clubs - we have to convince them that this makes sense for English football," said Dyke.

"And we are helped by Harry Kane in truth - we are helped by seeing a young kid come into the Spurs team and become the top scorer in English football.

"How many other Harry Kanes are around in the youth teams of Premier League clubs? It was almost by chance that Tim Sherwood became manager at Tottenham for a time and put him in the side - otherwise he would still be out on loan at Millwall or somewhere else."

'An awful lot of bog-standard foreign players'

"If you apply the system we are just introducing over the last five years, a third of non-EU overseas players that have come here wouldn't get in," Dyke added.

"We don't want to stop the outstanding talent coming here, but there are an awful lot of bog-standard players as well.

"If we could get all this through, over the next three, four or five years, you could see the numbers of home-grown players going up from a percentage in the high 20s to 40%. It matters that this happens across the whole of English football, but it particularly matters to the top end of the Premier League.

Manchester City and Barcelona players
Just three English players were in the Manchester City line-up across the two legs of their recent Champions League loss to Barcelona

"The future England team by and large play for the top six sides. If you look in Germany, or Spain, it's always the same. And amongst the top six sides the decline in English players is quite marked.

"If you look at who is playing in the Champions League, the English numbers compared to the Germans, the Spanish or the Brazilians, are pathetic."

BBC Sport's Ben Smith
"Greg Dyke made this issue a priority from the moment he became FA chairman in 2013. His fear is that England will drift into international football obscurity if nothing is done and he wants to be the man to do it. "Dyke has always been a populist and these proposals will chime with many England fans. But the acid test is how they are received by Premier League clubs. "They will have to vote for the reforms by a two-thirds majority for them to come into effect. Dyke will argue that there are more Harry Kanes and Ryan Masons ready to come through the system if only the Premier League clubs can clear a pathway for them."

Danny Mills on work permits

Former England full-back Danny Mills sits on the FA commission established by Dyke two years ago.

"Something like 95% of work permit appeals go through. On what basis? We want the creme de la creme," said Mills.

"We want the best players. But we are starting to get foreign players in the Championship and League Two. That reduces the number of English players who can come through the system.

"It matters to the English game. Harry Kane is adored. Fans will always have an affinity to the local lad or English players. It bridges the gap between superstar and fan, between the exceptional and the normal.

"It is very important that those links stay there."

Work permit changes - key points
Currently, players must have played at least 75% of their country's internationals over the past two years. That will now change according to ranking. Players must play at least 30% of matches in the last two years if their country is in the top 10, 45% if ranked between 11th and 20th, 60% between 21st and 30th and 75% if between 31st and 50th.
Player currently must have played for a country in the top 70 when rankings are averaged over two years. That will be lowered to the top 50.
All players are currently measured over the last two years. The new regulations will allow leeway for players aged 21 or under to only fulfil the criteria for the previous 12 months.
The FA estimates that 33% of the players who gained entry under the old system would not have been granted a work visa under the new rules. That means that over the last five years there would have been 42 fewer non-European players playing in the Premier and Football Leagues.
Read more on the work permit changes on the FA website.external-link

English game needs foreign players - Hartson

Former Arsenal striker John Hartson says the FA need to be careful about bringing in new rules as foreign players can help to improve their English counterparts.

"The best players I ever worked with were Dennis Bergkamp and Henrik Larsson," said the ex-Wales international. "I learned so much from them.

Dennis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars
John Hartson played alongside the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars at Arsenal

"Having 12 English players in a squad may not be a bad rule but you don't want to prevent good foreign players coming over and playing in this country.

"By that, you could miss out on a couple of really good foreign players who could be of benefit to the Premier League."

The former English hopeful's view

Lee Canoville, a former Arsenal defender who left the club in 2001 having made just one senior appearance in four years, welcomed the proposals.

Former Arsenal defender Lee Canoville says English players can be forgotten

"If the FA can limit the number of foreign players in a squad, that will help," he said. "A world-class player is entitled to come and play in the Premier League. But players who are not quite ready? What is the difference between our lads who are not quite ready? A rule needs to come in.

"Something obviously has to be done, because who knows in 10 more years what is going to happen, The Premier League will still be going, I am sure, it will still be exciting and brilliant but everyone wants that buzz back when we can look forward to the World Cup and European Championships.

"It is so important these young lads, like Daniel Sturridge and Harry Kane, get their chance. I am sure there are a lot more players out there who just need that chance."


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