Cohen and his Englishness: the most bonkers neo-nationalistic FA story ever

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.

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.


8 Replies to “Cohen and his Englishness: the most bonkers neo-nationalistic FA story ever”

  1. I want to believe that,because of Cohen ,
    The England league is developing so fast.

  2. Good old xenophobia 50,54,58,62,66,70,74,78,82,86,90, virtually no Johnny foreigners and a 9% success rate.
    This tells me England coaching isn’t all that and England players aren’t all that.
    94 98 02 06 10 14 18 proves their theories are up the pictures its like expecting Halifax to be serial FA cup winners then when they don’t succeed blaming it all on Diego for putting them off because he can’t stop laughing at their pathetic attempts.

  3. The poor sweet FA, screwed up their referees, screwed up their youth and academy system, failed their amateur system miserably, wasted enormous amounts of money on a vainglorious attempt to pretend England merited the WC, allowed children (and I am sure some adults) to be abused while turning a blind eye and refusing to admit it, overblown and overweight, mostly male walruses and dinosaurs playing at administration. It sounds like the worst of FIFA,EUFA and the Brexit crowd all rolled into one!

  4. Like I mentioned in the last article, if it were an FA youth coach disciplined for abusing the ref, Tony, you’d forever remind us of “the FA that supports ref intimidating coaches”. Oh well.
    However im interested in the untold article republished in the daily telegraph without permission. Could you help me with a link?

  5. @Tony I’ve had a read of the 2010 article, it was written before the 2010 world cup, so we’ve had 2010, 2014 and 2018 world cups since then. It looks like quite a lot has changed stats wise since then. Also since then England seems to have become a powerhouse in European youth football.
    Finally, would you still say Arsenal has been able to save(youth) football in England 10years on from your prediction?

  6. I didn’t mean to say that the Telegraph republished without permission. Rather that they picked up on our research and ran the story, without acknowledging the source. That’s not a crime, it would just be nice if acknowledgement was made. Sorry I don’t have the link immediately to hand, but I think I gave the date – it was right as the transfer window in which we bought Ozil came to a close. I remember that as I recall where I was when I read the piece.

  7. @Tony, I asked for the link because I think plagiarism is a serious accusation to make, you have to be certain so as to not be seen as deluded.

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