Sunday, 16 November 2008

Local players for local teams

Recently Sepp Blatter told MEPs he wants to limit the number of foreign players on the pitch to 5. He believes this will encourage clubs to develop home grown talent and to protect the local identity of teams.

This is of course in conflict with European employment law, which is why we have to endure one of the worst role models in European football - Ronaldo - playing for an English team*. So I would go further. Not only would I limit the number of foreign players in every football team to 5, but I would limit the number of non-local players to 5. At least 6 members of the team should be born within, what, ten miles of the ground? Or, because that advantages teams with high local population densities, let's just draw a circle that takes in five million people centred on the ground, and if you are in that, you are officially local. If you're not, you count as one of the five non-locals.

This would restore the original purpose of football teams: to represent the area they are in. Liverpool would do well - a lot of them are scousers anyway, thanks to an enlightened youth development programme. But some of the Spanish would have to go, as would some of the French national side in London (Arsenal). Manchester United might be encouraged to give a damn about the North West again. In general the megaclubs would reconnect with their areas and the playing field (to use a cliche) would be more level.

* Look how many hits you get on a google search for Ronaldo and petulant...

Update. Here are the birthplaces of a few of the current England squad: Gabriel Agbonlahor, Birmingham; Peter Crouch, Macclesfield; Frank Lampard, Romford; Steven Gerrard, Whiston (Merseyside); John Terry, Barking (London, although not too far off his playing style too); Micah Richards, Birmingham. The London clubs would actually do reasonably under the arrangement, the Brummy ones would be gainers, and the North East would struggle. Although not as much as Michael Owen (birthplace Chester) struggles to stay fit.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Charles Butler said...

A salary cap reflecting an estimate of the general public utility of a highly developed ability to control a ball with one's feet might accomplish the same thing. What is the minimum wage in Britain?

12:17 pm  
Blogger David Murphy said...

I rather suspect that is you asked the general public, sufficiently many of them would support paying John Terry more in a week than they get in a year for the absurdities of the Premier League to continue. Now of course in this instance the wisdom of crowds may be particularly suspect...

5:48 pm  

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