Often Partisan

New Quota Rules (pt 1)

As the new premier league season approaches, it’s time to look at the way the rules have changed with the introduction of the quota.

The Quota rules state that each club in the Premier League can only have up to 25 players over the age of 21 in their squad, of which eight of these players must be homegrown.

I thought it might be an idea firstly to discuss what the quota rules mean, and then (in a second part) look at how it affects clubs currently. I’ve been studying what might happen since the rule changes were announced last September, and I think I have an idea of how things could pan out.

Firstly, the rules.

The squad list has to be in place by close of business, the day after the transfer window ends. As this season the transfer window will close on August 31st at 6pm, this means clubs must submit their list by 6pm the day after. Until the list is submitted, clubs are free to use whatever players are registered to them. During the January transfer window clubs will again be free to use any player they have, and then they have to submit their updated list the day after the winter window shuts.

“Home-grown” refers to players “who, irrespective of his nationality or age, has been registered with any club affiliated to the Football Association or the Welsh Football Association for a period, continuous or not, of three entire seasons or 36 months prior to his 21st birthday (or the end of the season during which he turns 21).”

This is an important thing to consider. For instance, Sebastian Larsson is homegrown as he spent 3 years with Arsenal prior to his twenty first birthday; whereas James McFadden isn’t because he started his career in Scotland. It seems a bit weird that Larsson who is a Swede could be considered homegrown when a British player isn’t, but that is the way it goes.

Under-21 players do not have to be registered. There is a definition of what an under-21 players is according to the rules:

“In keeping with UEFA guidelines, an Under 21 player is defined as one who is under the age of 21 on 1st January in the year in which the season commences. For the 2010/11 campaign Under 21 players will have been born on or after 1st January 1989.”

This is where I think the mainstream media is missing something. Most MSM outlets are concentrating on what will happen this window – from initial work looking through squads I’ve noticed that there are a lot of players in the Premier League who will turn 22 in the coming year – IE, they won’t be under-21 players for next year’s window. I suspect that when this happens, many clubs will have a difficult decision – do they keep a player who they think might have potential, or do they ankle him because they can’t afford to lose the squad place? In part two, I’m working on having accurate squad lists for each team in the Premiership, complete with homegrown players and a list of players who will become over-21 in the next year. I think from this pool of over-21 players there may become some available that could become attractive propositions for lower Premier League teams.

Also, if a club loans out one of their over-21 players, the squad place doesn’t free up. Coupled with the fact that all eligible players must be registered could mean some tricky decisions on what to do with fringe players – they must be registered if there is a space – but if they’re loaned out for the season the space is wasted.

If a club cannot fulfill the homegrown criteria of 8 players in the overage squad, then they must leave out a place for each homegrown player they are missing – thus if they only have 7 homegrown players, then they must have a squad of 24, and so on and so forth. That could really make things interesting, as initial enquiries have noted that Arsenal for instance only have seven overage players who fit the homegrown criteria. I’m not sure if an underage player could be put into the squad to make up the eight, and I don’t think that will be the case.

If a team doesn’t have 25 eligible overage players, they are allowed to submit what they have. Free agents, who can be signed outside the window can then be slotted into their squad if the criteria is met. Again, this could mean some interesting situations for the smaller teams within the Premier League.

I intend to have part II up this time next week; it’s involving making a spreadsheet of around 600 players and will take some effort. Any questions, please comment.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials

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