• Football Association

Dyke wants clampdown on non-Europeans

ESPN staff
May 8, 2014
Greg Dyke says visa system is flawed © PA Photos

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has set a target of increasing the number of English players in the Premier League from 32% to 45% by 2022 in his England Commission report.

Dyke unveiled a raft of proposals at Wembley, aimed at boosting the number of English players at the top of club football, including the introduction of B teams in a new League Three, overhauling the work permit system and increasing the number of home-grown players in squads.

The target, which includes increasing the number of English players playing regularly in the Premier League from 66 currently to 90 by the year 2022, was described as "ambitious but realistic'' by Dyke.

In terms of work permits, the Commission proposes a cap on two non-EU players per squad, and that no players on overseas visas should be allowed to play below the Premier League, nor loaned to any other club in England.

Dyke said: "We believe no player coming in on an overseas visa should be allowed to join any club other than a Premier League club, nor should they be loaned out to other clubs outside of the Premier League. There should be a cap of two players who are non-EU allowed at a club. Many other countries including Spain and Italy have this rule.

"There have been several attempts to regulate the transfer market to encourage clubs to develop players rather than import them. But it has had little impact and rarely encourages the development of young English players.

"Forty per cent of non-EU players getting permits to come to the Premier League are not playing in the Premier League in the second season. I accept we want the very best non-EU foreign players because they are great value to our game. But this will not be impacted by the many mediocre players who are getting work permits."

The most controversial proposal is to establish a new League Three in 2016-17 made up of 10 Premier League B teams and 10 from the Conference. Of the B team squad, 19 of the 25 should be under the age of 21 and 20 of the 25 should qualify for the home-grown rule and no non-EU players allowed.

Many clubs at the top and bottom of the professional game have already expressed deep reservations about that plan.

The report states: "There should be 90 English players playing over 50% of minutes in the Premier League (or any other top five European league) compared with 66 today - of these 30 should be playing in the top six teams in the Premier League compared with the 18 today.

"This is still lower than the figures being achieved in Germany and Spain today but it would take English football back to a figure last achieved in 2000''.

In terms of home-grown players allowed in each Premier League squad, the Commission recommends a phased reduction in the number of non home-grown players in top-flight squads from 17 to 12 - starting in 2016/17 and reaching that target by 2021.

Dyke said: "This decline is a problem in countries right across Europe but is a significantly bigger problem in England than anywhere else - and if the trend continues we fear for the future of the English team.

"If this cannot be reversed, a future England manager will have fewer and fewer top level English players from which to choose.''

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