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Greg Dyke, Parachute Payments, Premier League Quota…

Dominic Sanchez Cabello

Fresh after the installing of a new F.A. chief, the debate about English football surfaced. And though I appreciate that it is a reasonable thing to debate, the debate was launched in a shabby and rushed way. Like the seal that surfaces for air and instantly submerges again, the debate emerged, was debated in brief, promptly leaving for more ‘pressing’ matters: namely a “Gritty Gerrard-performance in Kiev”, or Hodgson’s men displaying a “never say die attitude” or that “Kyle Walker isn’t afraid of Ukraine” and other drollery…  

Greg Dyke identified an area that can’t be changed quickly and offered a solution that was impossible to implement anyway.  Which is why it was easier for him to slink off into the deep. To stay in the fresh air would be to keep the debate moving, to propose a long-term plan, maybe even to say something productive. It would also take money and foresight…  so again I ask, why speak of quotas that’ll never happen in rhetoric that’ll never be questioned?

Creating a quota system in the hope of winning an international tournament would be like creating a tax that protects British Business in the hope that these businesses would out-compete the rest of the world. Imagine the government offered tax breaks when purchasing a Rover. Yes, more people would be driving Rovers, but in the long term would it make Rover a better company? Would the unfair advantage they had over the competitors cause them to improve their methods, or to slacken them? Sales may rise domestically, but how would they do elsewhere, in freer markets? In the same way, how would a team of players aided via a bureaucratic advantage fare against teams assembled on merit?

All it would really do is dissuade you from buying foreign. The result: people would have average cars, the Premier League would have average players, Rover would remain a wretched company and our national team would still be crap.

That analogy has its faults: because as we know car manufacturers can produce on an industrial scale. Footballers can’t be produced on demand, even despite Spain/Belgium’s best efforts. So then what? Perhaps the quality and quantity of British footballers produced doesn’t rise to suit the demands of this quota… prices become even more inflated and the next thing you know, you’ve blown 30 million on James Milner.

Does the Spanish or German league use a quota system to protect their own? No, they don’t need to; they’ve created a situation where the players they produce are good enough not to need shielding from foreign imports.

Around a decade ago, following a poor showing at the Euros, the German FA and Bundesliga insisted that every club invest in a modern academy. To do this, a percentage of their television rights had to be used improving their youth system. The logic was that, instead of squandering money swelling the pockets of agents and players, the money could be used more holistically, cultivating local talent, whilst also benefiting the wider community. Schalke may have loathed having to set aside funds refurbishing their youth system at the time, but when Julian Draxler appeared from it – they’d soon rejoice that they did. So would the German F.A. and Bundesliga for that matter.

At present, the two top German leagues spend 75million Euros a year on their academies. Not an outlandish sum in the context and easily manageable for a league as rich as the EPL. Especially considering that a few months ago the Premier League flogged its television rights for £3 billion – nearly double the previous deal.

Of this £3 billion:

  • 50% will be equally divided between clubs,
  • 25% is given on merit
  • 25% is given according to how many times a club is shown on T.V. at their home stadium

Now call me a dreamer, but somewhere in that sum of money and its surrounding percentages, there must be funds that can be put aside to improve youth football in Britain. Surely it would be merely a case of the Premier League and the F.A. getting together for a chat?

As of this season, clubs relegated from the Premier league will receive £60m  over 4 years in Parachute Payments. Naturally each club will spend it differently, but in general it’ll be used massaging a bulky wage bill in a lower league. I can think of few things that are as pointless – even burning money gives light and warmth. In effect that money is rewarding failure and cushioning it from a heavy fall. It is giving clubs that have pursued an unsustainable end a bit more time to continue doing just that. A bit like giving the gambler a final wad of cash to avenge his losses.

If relegated clubs still received those payments, but on the condition they spent it improving their infrastructure, it would be far more effective in the long term than if it was squandered paying Gary Caldwell premier league wages to play against Yeovil. It could be used to entice competent coaches, to finance football projects in and around Wigan.  Perhaps even improve the pitch at the D.W!

Of course the benefits wouldn’t be instant, indeed they may go completely unseen for years, but what if Wigan became better at football? Or an increase in sports facilities made the general population healthier and happier? Or the wealth that could have been lost to the pockets of agents and players, stayed in Wigan and created a wealthier city all round? If those things are too tenuous, then there is always that Wigan could return to the Premier League with a more viable plan for survival – a productive academy and a pitch that won’t desert them by November.

The books…

27 comments to Greg Dyke, Parachute Payments, Premier League Quota…

  • colario

    You have a good point. Southampton and Crystal Palace have gone down this route. they have made it to the Premier league but have had their best youngsters ‘taken from them’. Walcott, Ox and Bale to name but three. How does that benefit the producing club?

  • sharpshooter

    They were not taken for free, right?

  • Klaus

    Has the English FA ever managed to apply some logic in what they do ? .. They sound like profiling politicians, although politicians wouldn’t talk such utter rubbish.
    “Parachute” payments – what an idiotic idea. Opens the floodgates for over-budgeting already on promotion. Such brainless approach is sickening. The English FA would do better to replace their whole board with some 5-graders, cos they got substantially more IQ.

  • colario

    @sharpshooter. No but how much was Bale sold on for. Who has benefited most Southampton or Spurs?

    Then there are many others who have left for virtually nothing and gone on to make a fortune for the receiving club.

    What I am saying is that we have what has been suggested in place on a voluntary system. Some big clubs have an academy in place. Some don’t, choosing to buy in usually on the cheap. So we have the scheme suggested but with a few exceptions it hasn’t produced the players with the skill found in Europe.

    It could be argued that this area of football is another example of Arsene being different to the rest of English football. Call it ‘pioneering the way’ ‘swimming against the tide’, being stubborn’, being ignorant of how it is done in England’, call it what you like.

    Arsene has brought skillful football to Arsenal by bringing established skillful players to the club and developing them further and bringing young players who have shown potential to the club. Arsene has ignored the demand for ‘thug players’ which make up the English media and most fans concept of a ‘good player’.

    In Wiltshire’s case he has come through the Arsenal Academy. The ‘media experts’ the ‘expert fans’ say that he should be now showing his ability and he is not doing so and therefore he is no good.

    Ignoring the fact that he is being systematically being kicked off his game and prevented from playing to his true potential by ‘thug football’ which is the way the game is played in England.

  • insideright

    Excellently argued post and a great analogy with regard to the gambler.
    Also some good points from colario. Famously Arsene spent half of his first ‘windfall’ from the sale of Anelka (£22m) on a replacement in Henry and the other half on building the state-of-the-art training centre that we still benefit from. Such far-sightedness sets hil apart and belies the accusations that the Arsenal Board are out of touch with what is good for the Club.
    Untold, once again, goes where no other blog seems keen to go.

  • Duc

    It pains me to say it but we ought to follow the Germans path. Their emphasis on home-grown talent is clearly working. And the fan ownership is fantastic too. Great fellow Germans to watch, low prices and beer too. It puts the PL in it’s place. Wenger has to change too which I think he’s not capable of. Poor Chuba wasn’t even going to get 10 minutes even though we were 3-1 up! What precise situation would AW have brought him on at?
    @ Colario – Yes and 70% of those thugs are foreign. Supposedly so good that they’re impossible to produce at home. A bit like Cygan; a player so immensely talented that AW had to go back to his beloved France to find a player of such quality. Pity Wenger didn’t have a scout at Sheffield Utd as there he could have bought Jags. I see Chelsea/MU are scouting there for Maguire. AW will be in the French 2nd Division rather than looking at his Academy players or looking at the English choices.

  • finsbury

    Why when there are so many, many, coaches who say the same thing is there so little debate in the football media? How many of the hacks have we ever seen or heard clearly highlight the shortage of coaches etc. and the relatively absurd and disturbing lack of investment in actual Football?

    In other news lower league British footballers accused of match-fixing down under?
    Phew! At least it could never happen here.
    And Mark Halsey’s book is also in the news. I suppose that must be to aid sales. Heh.
    I wonder if he writes that in-game video replays (as seen in London during the Olympic Hockey tournament) would (obviously without any shadow of a doubt) help protect and reinforce referees?

  • finsbury

    I think the scouts did ok when picking up, well, where to start:

    Wilshere
    Ramsey
    Gibbs
    Oxlade-Chamberlain
    Jenkinson

    I’d better stop there. I don’t drone on and onrepeating the same old rubbish whilst digging myself into a hole now, do I? ; )

  • Nelson Wong

    The FA is laughable.

    This quota thing has only one effect: give more chance for English youngsters to play in England.

    Its not related to how good they are.

    It’s not about playing chances that is lacking because EPL is big and there are many clubs. What England lacks is the players that can break it into the highest level.

    To be honest, if there is a lack of opportunity in England and young players are skilful, they can surely go overboard. French, Belgium and Dutch leagues aren’t that big and powerful so their good players go to other countries.

    How many English players make their way to top level in clubs out side England? I cannot name one… The thing is, English young players are of high demand in England so they don’t need to go compete outside of England.

    FA should find a way to train good competitve players rather than trying to play time for players as that isn’t what they need.

  • And_Arsene_Said...

    @Duc
    Wow, what stupid comments re Wenger. You must be resting your brain on this Sunday afternoon. BTW you forgot the letters ‘n’ before ‘c’ and ‘e’ after the ‘c’ on your name, or is it meant to be @Duh!.

  • OMGArsenal

    Duc…..your post is so pitifully an anti-Wenger rant that, as @And_Arsene_Said… pointed out, your brain is clearly in hibernation today. Regarding your faulty and insipid points:

    1)German Football’s model obviously works BUT Wenger has brought in endless academy talent to have a go in the first team AND purchased a young British core to play alongside his more experienced players….just like Bayern has done in the Bundesliga.
    2)So you think your FFManager expertise is superior to Wenger’s 38 years of professional management and skill in determining who can play and when? You seem to overlook the fact that there are countless Cup and other matches coming up where he can give these players a run to see if they are ready. Let the intelligent run things, and people like you sit in silent admiration….with the emphasis on silence.
    3)Where did you get this mythical 70% of ¨thugs¨being foreigners? Yours is The ultimate xenophobic statement. I hate to wake you out of your narcissistic hatred of continentals BUT the likes of: Shawcross, Barton, Perch, Reid, Lowton, Whitehead, Gardner, Sidwell, all have the highest tally of yellow and red cards in the EPL and they are all British but not all ¨thugs¨.
    4)your ignorance is surpassed only by your stupidity Duc. Wenger has consistently brought in talent from England and elsewhere and a quick look at our current squad would prove that: British players – Jenkinson, Walcott, Ramsey, the Ox, Gibbs, Wilshere,and Akpom. That’s half the starting lineup!He has supplemented this wonderful talent with the likes of Arteta,Ozil,Cazorla,Podolski,Giroud,Rosicky, 3 of whom are ex-Bundesliga players….showing how prejudiced and blinkered you really are.

    Before you engage your fingers on the keyboard please put your brain in gear first!!! Better still, stick to shagging your pet mouse.

  • Adam

    @ Dominic Sanchez Cabello, I thought you may find this link interesting, it’s about the amount of money spent on acquiring footballers across the big five leagues in Europe. Germany & England are polar opposites.

    http://www.football-observatory.com/IMG/pdf/b5wp_issue45_ENG.pdf

  • Adam

    For those that are interested, when a player moves abroad a percentage of the transfer fee is paid to the club/s responsible for his training, in Bales case that would be Southampton. They probably received 5% of the transfer fee.

    I have been saying for awhile that this small percentage is not enough and more money needs to find it’s way to clubs that take on the responsibility of training youngsters.

  • Adam

    Again for those interested, Footballers have what is known as a player passport, and that document holds all information needed for a selling club to remunerate training clubs. Training a player is usually between the ages of 12-21 (if I remember correctly) and a small percentage is paid for every year a player is with his training club.

    These are set rules in the FIFA transfer & status regs, and are non-negotiable.

  • Nelson Wong

    It is very interesting that people talk about how Wenger’s “youth project failure” and praise big money signing that come after cash injection from mega rich owners while they blast Wenger for not developing British players.

    Yes, Arsenal bring in both English and foreign youngsters to the Academy but regardless, plenty of English youngsters are given the chance to train under Arsenal’s teachings.

    And the only reason for them to be there is to develop themself and get into professional football, preferably through Arsenal.

    And at the same time, people want Arsenal first team to stop letting youngsters rise throug the ranks.

    How funny!

    All the media and people who said this so called “youth project” won’t work should come out and tell FA to shut up and stop the nosene about quotas.

    We do not see that happening, strangely.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    AW has brought in many talented and then upcoming English players during his time but then …..where are they now ?
    Jermaine Pennant , David Bentley ,Richard Wright, Jay Bothroyd, Stuart Taylor , Francis Jeffers were all given their chance .

  • @Adam, Thanks mate. Will be sure to give it a read.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    The best things and best people rise out of their separateness; I’m against a homogenized society because I want the cream to rise.
    Robert Frost

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Do you know that no English manager has won the Premier League since its inception in 1993 ?

    The last English manager to win the first division title was Howard “Sergeant Wilko ” Wilkinson in 1992 with Leeds Utd.
    And for the record in descending order .
    1)Howard Wilkinson , Leeds Utd – 1992
    2)Howard Kendall , Everton – – 1987 & 1985
    3)Joe Fagan , Liverpool – 1984
    4)Ron Saunders , Aston Villa – 1981
    5)Brian Clough , Nottingham Forrest – 1977
    ” Derby County – 1972
    6)Don Revie , Leeds United -1974 & 1969
    7)Bertie Mee , Arsenal -1971
    8)Harry Catterick , Everton -1970 & 1963
    9)Joe Mercer/Malcom Allison,Man.City -1968
    10)Sir. Matt Busby , Manchester Utd – 1967 & 1965

    In the last 50 years ,10 English managers have won a total of 15 league titles .
    Make of this what you may !

  • andy bishop

    its even worse.. Sir Matt was scottish

  • Mark

    A quota system will not help make England players better. A youth system like Germany would help. If the England players are good enough they play. If they are not they don’t. England has failed to keep pace with the rest of the world in both quality coaching and quality youth training.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ andy bishop – Damn ! That’ll teach me to follow my insticts and not Wikipedia ; and not do research at 1 AM in the morning .

  • Pete

    The other side of the coin is that English footballers can always go and play overseas… except they are likely to earn more here either in the reserves or the Championship than in a top league elsewhere.

  • gouresh

    Quota system does not work, not in football, not in jobs, nowhere. It just brings incompetence and I can tell you this from experience.
    I used to play semi-pro back in the 90’s for a club called Shivajans [now DSK Shivajians] in a city called Pune in India. We always had a few Sudanese students [never more that 4 at a given time] and we would admire the stuff they could do, in terms of skill. We could never copy them because we were taught ‘F’ all in school, infact we played the 2-3-5 system and I could use the instep to kick only when I started playing for the senior school team and this was in-fact told to be my by friend. The 2 backs, [we use to call them backies] would just hoof the ball up and then we chased the ball. Playing with these Sudanese improved my game tremendously, ie reading the game, passing etc. I remember when we used to for out station tournaments, were allowed to take 2 guest players and the crowd would ask us how many ‘hiras’ [diamonds] have we got. They would pay good money to watch us [in-fact they came to watch them] even the tournament organiser’s would ask to bring such players for gate money.
    Then one day the association decided to ban foreign players. It was more to do we jealousy because the main Sudanese player we had was leader of their union and knew all the best players and would bring them along to join our team. The other teams had them but not to the same level. We were shocked and argued our point, but the reason was the same as the FA have given, more chance for the local boys.
    We then said let us have at least 3 players, but no one listened. Our club lost the vote and all players who were not Indian citizens were banned. We said that you would lose the crowd and asked them if the foreign students could play in the league and cups under their own country teams. [ we had boys from Sudan, Somalia, Eretria, Palestine, Iran studying in our town] Again, their argument was that they would fight each other due to their political difference. We said have 2 mounted police, then they argued that they would win everything because they were better. Our blood boiled to the fact they our own association did not believe in our ability. Again we lost vote and that was the end. The boys did not need to practice harder because of the extra spaces, the standard dropped. EPL was just started to be shown through cable but they had very high monthly subscription, so watching games was not a cheap option, where we could watch better players and learn. Then the pub culture hit our city so all the collage boys would be at the pubs in the evening as they was a cool thing to do rather than play footie, so getting new recruits became a task. The standard dropped drastically and within 4 yrs it was finished.
    You need to have very very good coaching at grass root level if you want to do what the FA has in mind. I understand where they are coming from but anyone who has seen Sunday league will tell you that the quota system does not and will not work because we play rubbish football at this level. If we want players like Spain or Germany produce [ ie technically sound players] it will take at least 20 yrs but we need coaches brought in to change the mentality. This takes time. One eg is our AFC academy. We are now seeing players coming out after what, 15 yrs of hard work. Also weather the quota system will be allowed under the EU law is a different matter altogether.

  • Gouresh, thanks a lot for taking your time to write such a comment – there’s a decent article in its self there.

    I’m glad you agree about the Quota – so obviously a bad idea and illegal through EU law, that it’s a wonder it was ever brought up in the first place…

    Different note: You a fan of Pune Warriors? If so,what do you think of the ‘overseas rule’ in the IPL? I’m torn on it… does it work?

  • gouresh

    Hi D-Sanchez-Cabello

    My flat in Pune [I now reside in London-Harrow] is 5 miles for the Pune Warriors stadium but no, I don’t follow them, in-fact I don’t follow cricket. Stopped playing or following cricket in ’84 once I started playing football. Realised what a waste of time it was. [my opinion]

  • ataf

    well thought out nicely written article, like it.