Chief Executive of the Premier League, Richard Scudamore has announced new rules for both squad sizes and financial reporting which have been agreed by all 20 Premier League clubs and will come into play next season. On the face of it, they make sense and should not adversely affect City.
New squad rules
The squad rules bring in a cap of 25 players over the age of 21. Within this 8 must be home-grown. Therefore up to 17 can be players over 21 who have come from abroad.
A home-grown player is defined as one who has spent three seasons with an English or Welsh club prior to their 21st birthday (or the end of the season in which they will be 21).
Clubs can have as many players under the age of 21 as they like.
Of City’s current first team squad (excluding loan players) listed on the official site, those who would be classed as homegrown and over 21 would be: Given, Taylor, Lescott, Bridge, Onuoha, Richards, Barry, Ireland, Wright-Phillips and Bellamy. A total of 10 (thereby exceeding the minimum of 8).
The number of other players over the age of 21 would be: Sylvinho, Garrido, Toure, Zabaleta, de Jong, Kompany, Petrov, Adebayor, Benjani, Robinho, Santa Cruz and Tevez. A total of 12 (thereby under the maximum of 17).
City’s squad would therefore be 22 players (3 under the limit).
Surprisingly, Weiss and Johnson are the only players listed in the first team squad under 21 (at the beginning of this year). They would also be classed as home-grown and eligible to play.
The rule is an attempt to stop bloated squads and encourage clubs to bring players through Academies. The intention to encourage clubs to get more young players making the transition from youth sides to the first team is a good one, and City have recently made a step in this direction with the appointment of Brian Kidd.
There is plenty of scope within these figures for clubs to continue buying the best foreign talent they can afford which, like it or not, is necessary if you’re going to be challenging in Europe. Another key point is there is no restriction on the nationality of players who would be considered home-grown. ‘Foreigners’ such as Given, Ireland and Weiss would all qualify. This will enable clubs to continue the controversial practice of picking up promising youngsters from abroad, though it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Uefa and Fifa tightening the rules on this shortly.
“It’s not in the club’s interests to stockpile players. It will make buying home-grown talent more attractive.
“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.”
New financial rules
Clubs will be required to submit independently audited accounts each season. They will also need to submit future financial information to act as an early warning system should any club be taking undue risks. Clubs that fail in this and fall into difficulties could then be subject to financial controls relating to limiting transfers and player salaries.
“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.”
Clearly these rules are to prevent the kind of financial mismanagement that has been going on at West Ham and Portsmouth, and previously Leeds. In a direct way it shouldn’t affect City in the slightest.
However, by bringing in sensible financial rules that safeguard clubs, the Premier League lessens the argument for the new rules that Michel Platini is trying pass at Uefa. The detail of Platini’s plans have still not been agreed or announced, yet we know he has the desire to link expenditure to income and ban ‘sugar daddies’ from giving money to clubs. This controversial idea, which without being paranoid is clearly aimed at City, could cause significant problems for the ‘City project’. On the face of it, it has many flaws and seems ridiculous, and I’ll address these in another article.
For now City should be grateful to the strong leadership of Scudamore in implementing sensible ideas that should bring greater financial stability to the Premier League without undermining it in any way.
“I welcome the Premier League’s introduction of a home-grown player quota for squads and its implementation of strengthened financial reporting rules.
“These moves will encourage clubs to develop and bring through young talent and help ensure clubs are financially stable.”