FA seek rule change over permits

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Published: Monday 23rd March 2015 by The News Editor

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The Football Association will push English clubs to unearth their own Harry Kane next season by making it harder for foreign players to secure work permits this summer.

Stricter rules, approved by the home office on Friday, will come into force from May 1 and intend to reduce the number of non-EU players in the Barclays Premier League, who are seen as blocking English talent.

FA chairman Greg Dyke also wants to persuade the Premier League to drop the number of non-home grown players allowed in a 25-man squad from 17 to 13 and to adjust the definition of ‘home grown’ so that players only qualify if they are registered for three years prior to turning 18, rather than 21.

The Premier League are understood to have serious reservations about both changes to the home grown players rule, including whether there would be legal implications.

The proposals come from the FA’s England Commission, launched in 2013 to help English youngsters succeed at the highest level and achieve Dyke’s ambitious target of winning the 2022 World Cup.

A clock counting down to the final in Qatar has since been installed at St George’s Park but the chance of England progressing that far remains small with Englishmen like Tottenham’s Kane, currently joint top-scorer in the Premier League, forming only 35 per cent of those playing in the top flight.

Dyke wants that figure to rise to “around 40 per cent” in the next five years.

The home grown proposals may prove difficult to push through, however, which is where Dyke hopes Kane’s 29 goals in all competitions this season can prove persuasive.

Dyke said: “We will go round (the clubs) and try to convince them. We will ask: ‘Are you sure you haven’t got a Harry Kane playing in your youth side?’.

“It must help negotiations mustn’t it? Suddenly an English kid who was out on loan at four different places, who was touch and go to get a game in the first team, is suddenly the top scorer in English football.

“It’s great news. How many more Harry Kanes are there out there, who just can’t get a game?”

The new work permit rules, which apply across the whole Football League, will see prospective non-EU players given points for various criteria including the agreed transfer fee and wages, international caps, and the level of league and club they are joining from.

The player must be an international from a country ranked in FIFA’s top 50, rather than the top 70 as it is currently, and the number of caps required will be staggered depending on the country’s status.

Players from countries ranked in the top 10 will have to have played in 30 per cent of international matches over the past two years while that figure rises to 75 per cent for countries ranked between 31 and 50.

There will also be leeway given to players under the age of 21, who are assumed to be less established at international level and therefore need only fulfil the caps criteria for the last 12 months.

The changes are aimed at ending clubs’ reliance on a lenient appeals system that has granted approval to 79 per cent of its applicants, and ensuring only the most talented non-EU players ply their trade in this country.

The FA calculate that 33 per cent of players who gained entry under the old rules would have been turned down under the new system.

Those include Mame Diouf, Geoff Cameron and Brek Shea at Stoke, Bryan Oviedo at Everton, Roger Espinoza at Wigan and Ryo Miyaichi at Arsenal.

The FA will now set about convincing the Premier League to increase the home-grown quota in 25-man squads from eight to 12 and to lower the age at which players must be attached to FA clubs from 18 to 15.

Under the current rules, Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy and Asmir Begovic all count as home-grown players in the Premier League despite earning more than 150 caps between them for Spain, France and Bosnia and Herzegovina respectively.

“The Premier League has already embraced the idea of Home Grown Player requirements, but the current rules are not having the desired impact,” Dyke said.

“These proposed changes will encourage clubs to play the genuine home-grown talent that is being developed through their and other academies.”

The Football League is also in talks with the Premier League about the possibility of top-flight under-21 sides taking part in the Football League Trophy.

The plan, which Dyke says was initiated by the Football League, would give academy players at elite clubs a greater opportunity to play competitive football.

Dyke had originally suggested entering Premier League ‘B Teams’ into the lower leagues but that idea has been scrapped due to widespread criticism.

Published: Monday 23rd March 2015 by The News Editor

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