Premier League clubs agree 'home-grown quota'
The Premier League will introduce a squad cap of 25 players and a quota on home-grown players from next season, chief executive Richard Scudamore confirmed last night. The 20 clubs met last Thursday to agree the introduction of a home-grown player rule, which will take effect at the start of next term, and the immediate implementation of financial reporting rules. "As of next season clubs will be required to have a squad named of up to 25 players, of which no more than 17 can be over the age of 21 and not home grown," said Scudamore. "The definition of home grown is trained for three years under the age of 21 by somebody in the English and Welsh professional system.
"Clubs will have to declare their 25 at the end of August when the window shuts and then again at the end of January." Scudamore denies the move will encourage clubs to hoard young foreign players and claims the England team will ultimately reap the reward. "It's not in the club's interests to stockpile players. It will make buying home-grown talent more attractive," he said. "We're not going down the route of a nationality test but 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."
All 20 Premier League members also agreed to adhere to a set of financial reporting rules designed to protect the viability and sustainability of the clubs. "They will all have to annually submit accounts and future financial information," said Scudamore. "At all times the board of the Premier League will be applying a test which basically says this: can the club fulfil its fixtures, pay off its creditors when they are due and also to meet obligations to the Premier League's contracts and partners? "If the board believe a club is at risk of not meeting those obligations, it has to then step in and agree a budget for the running of that club. Any transfers can be embargoed. "It's absolutely crucial that these clubs are run as ongoing viable concerns. These financial rules apply immediately.
"This is tied in, and we passed the rule during the summer, to a 'fit and proper person test'. "At our club meeting last week, the clubs absolutely endorsed our position of not linking expenditure to income." The UK sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe was fully behind the Premier League's move. "I am pleased the Premier League intend to impose tough sanctions on clubs that take big financial risks that could threaten their future," he said. "Clubs must be sustainable for the long-term health of the game in this country." Government ministers would like the Premier League to go even further but view yesterday's announcement as a big step in the right direction.
The Premier League however have opposed Uefa president Michel Platini's plan that clubs should only be allowed to spend what they earn. Scudamore said: "At our club meeting last week, the clubs absolutely endorsed our position of not linking expenditure to income." * PA Sport
Updated: September 15, 2009 04:00 AM