Research by Andrew Crawshaw, opinions by Tony Attwood
The FA have for years been trying to break away from the EU imposed rule of allowing EU players from all nationalities to play for clubs without restriction.
UEFA introduced the rule at the start of the 2006/07 football season requiring that all teams entering European club competitions had to name eight ‘home grown’ players in their 25 man squad. As part of the argument UEFA argued that since the 1995 Bosman ruling in the European Court of Justice, European competitions were becoming less competitive and clubs were not training up local players.
The Football Association however went much further, claiming without any evidence at all that allowing foreign players to play in the English league has negative consequences for the English national team. And indeed this was not just without any evidence but contrary to such evidence as could be found.
The fairly simple research that established that the contrary of the FA’s position was true was first published in Untold in 2010 and has since been republished (without acknowledgement) in the Daily Telegraph in August 2013.
In 2011 the European Commission reviewed whether the home grown rule breached Article 45 of the European Treaty. This and other research showed that improvements in competitiveness have been very small and there is likely very little evidence to show that the rule has improved the quality of youth development in football.
But despite a total lack of evidence that the current situation does restrict the ability of England to compete in international competitions or has any effect on youth opportunities, the desire to change by the FA continues and they are repeatedly suggesting they will use Brexit to enforce the views.
Which makes the situation concerning Cohen Bramall really weird.
Cohen was an Arsenal player – he has just been released by the club and is now looking for another club. He is also English – he was born in England and qualifies like all British born people, to live in England.
But the chaotic and crazy homegrown rules of the FA require a player to be registered with a club affiliated with either the English or Welsh FAs for a period of three years prior to their 21st birthday.
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Cohen came to football late having concentrated on athletics as a youth and it seems that not all of the non-league teams he played for were properly affiliated to the FA or maybe they just failed to complete the required paperwork. Nothing wrong with that – clubs don’t have to be affiliated. They can be, but they don’t have to.
Whilst his recent clubs, Arsenal and Hedensford Town will have had him properly registered, this has happened after his 18th birthday so he can’t count as homegrown. It is a quirk of the system but getting the FA to admit their system has a fault is unlikely to happen. It doesn’t fit their agenda.
From Arsenal’s point of view it doesn’t matter since he has left the club. He will probably make a living playing in one of the lower leagues but if not he has at least lived his dream for a couple of years rather than working in a car factory, albeit making Bentleys!
All this fuss over getting more English players to play in England, which appears from all the evidence to make no difference at all, and yet here is a bit of the rule that stops an English player from being registered as home grown.
The FA let us not forget were the organising body in control of football in England when the increasing number of sex abuse cases evolved – they were the controlling body that had no idea anything was amiss. They still don’t want to admit anything has been going on. The people who appointed Sam Allerdyce and then quickly had to unappoint him after one game because he didn’t behave like a gent.
The organisation that spent millions and millions of pounds of public money on a lunatic bid to host the world cup a second time, and were shocked to find the vote at Fifa was rigged and that England got only two votes.
Yes that FA, and here they are at it again, screwing up the one rule that they claim is their way to winning the world cup. Ah well.
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