Grow your own – A Tottenham take on the ‘home grown’ ruling

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Players on loan from the big clubs are rife in the Premier and Football Leagues. Spurs have an amazing 15 players out on loan, Chelsea have 10 and Man Utd 5. Most of these are academy players sent out to gain experience but in all honesty, few will ever get a first team chance once they return ‘home’. In an effort to encourage more clubs to bring academy products all the way through to the top level the Premier League is introducing restrictions on the make up of first team squads.

At the end of August 2010, all clubs will have to name the 25 players (or less) that form their first team squads. They’ll have to repeat the exercise at the end of January, i.e. after the mid season transfer window has closed. (This was how the story was reported on the Premier League website but it can’t be as simple as that as this implies that you won’t be able to play anyone signed in January until after the window’s closed which I suspect isn’t right.) Of the 25 named players no more than 17 can be over 21 and not ‘home grown’. Home grown is defined as ‘trained for three years under the age of 21 in the English or Welsh professional systems’. There’s no mention of nationality, i.e. you don’t have to have a British passport to qualify as home grown, e.g. Robbie Keane, who came through the system at Wolves.

So how is this going to affect Spurs? The first reaction is to try and find 8 players in our squad who came through the English or Welsh systems. But in fact, it would actually be much harder at the moment to find 17 players who ‘fail’ the home grown rule. Gomes, Cudicini, Corluka, Assou-Ekotto, Bassong, Modric, Pavlyuchenko, Hutton, Palacios and Krancjar make ten. Giovani will be 21 in May next year bumping the figure up to eleven. 

All of Defoe, Keane, Crouch, King, Woodgate, Dawson, Lennon, Jenas, Huddlestone, Bentley, Bale, Naughton, O’Hara and Jimmy Walker would pass the home grown test. Additionally, Danny Rose, Kyle Walker, Bostock and Parrett are all under 21 and under the new measures, clubs will be able to boost their squads beyond the 25 limit with players under the age of 21.

So basically, we’re laughing in terms of satisfying the requirements. But as the new quotas won’t make us change anything, what’s the point of them? The truth is that 17 exceptions to the rule per squad is a lot and the restrictions are going to affect very few clubs with perhaps only Liverpool suffering any major impact with it being reported that 90% of their current squad is classed as expatriate. 

Until clubs are forced to actually field a quota of home grown players rather than just have them in their 25 I can’t see the changes having a significant effect, certainly in the short term. Maybe this quota rule is a step towards bringing in further changes along these lines and is just designed to start getting us used to the idea? Sepp Blatter’s ‘6+5’ rule is still out there as a serious proposal and Michel Platini & UEFA are continually attempting to get footballers treated as exceptions to the EU employment laws.

In conclusion though, unless Harry goes out and buys seven or eight jumping Masai warriors to help form a better wall than the one Giggs chipped over on Saturday, I think we can quite happily just sit back and watch others squirm.


What are your opinions on the new Premier League rulings and how they might affect/benefit Spurs?

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