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September 16, 2009

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England backs quota for local talent

PREMIER League clubs have voted in new limits on non homegrown players from next season to promote youth development.

Clubs will be restricted to 25 players over the age of 21, eight of which must have been registered with either an English or Welsh club for three years before their 21st birthdays.

The new rule limiting clubs to 17 non homegrown players is set to discourage clubs stockpiling established talent. Squad lists must be declared at the end of each transfer window and there will be no restrictions on the number of under-21 players.

"I think it will reduce squad sizes, and stop the warehousing of players, if that is really what is going on," Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said on Monday.

"It encourages the promotion of young players but - and we don't apologize for it - it goes nowhere near a nationality test because we don't believe that's right or legal.

"What this will mean is that you just can't buy a team from abroad. We think it will give clubs an extra incentive to invest in youth. We think that one of the benefits will be that it will help the England team."

The regulations partly replicates UEFA's requirements for clubs entering the Champions League, but is some distance from FIFA's planned rule that would limit clubs to start matches with a maximum of five foreign players.

What the new Premier League regulations won't prevent is clubs going abroad to sign players under 18, which FIFA is trying to outlaw.

The issue has received greater prominence since a ruling this month that banned Chelsea from buying players in the next two transfer windows for signing a 16-year-old French junior international after allegedly getting him to break his contract with Lens.

Chelsea is appealing against the ruling and Scudamore has no problem with English clubs signing young foreign talent.

"The rhetoric of the last three weeks would have you believe we literally have boat loads coming in all the time," he said. "The fact is it's one or two here or there and 85 percent are British. We've got to be careful in football, the language and rhetoric doesn't go into owning individuals.

"Football has long moved on from the idea that a human being is owned by a club. Their registration may be currently contractually bound to a club, but they don't own the human being. It's not possible, certainly in my view, in European law and in English law for 13, 14, 15 year olds to be owned."


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