Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Building Bridges Has to Be Dyke's Priority

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Building Bridges Has to Be Dyke's Priority

Article excerpt

GREG DYKE says there are three "simple questions" that need answering to help reverse the decline of English football.

The Football Association chairman will head a committee to investigate the issues facing the game in this country and report their findings in the new year. Here, Standard Sport's James Olley addresses the questions set by Dyke.

WHY HAS THIS HAPPENED? There are many reasons. The Premier League has grown into such a colossus that the importance of England and the FA have been marginalised. Other countries seem capable of hosting a strong domestic league without sacrificing so much of their national identity.

The English top flight is largely played, managed and owned by foreigners. Only 32 per cent of players in the Premier League are eligible for England. The national team are an afterthought for clubs who are now in the entertainment business that the glamorous Premier League has become.

Success must be immediate and foreign players often offer greater initial impact than nurturing homegrown talent.

Agents encourage such deals as a fast-track to making money.

But England were not exactly winning everything in sight before the formation of the Premier League. A lack of qualified coaches and an absence of a clear identity are long-standing problems.

According to Dyke, England has 1,161 coaches at UEFA 'A' coaching level compared with 12,720 in Spain and 5,500 in Germany.

Dyke also claimed that roughly 30per cent of the players who received work permits this summer did not meet the standard criteria, suggesting it is too easy for unproven and inexperienced foreigners to join an English club.

WHAT COULD BE DONE ABOUT IT? An obvious solution would be to introduce a minimum quota of English players for each club. The home-grown rule was introduced in 2010 declaring that within their 25-man squad, clubs must name at least eight players trained in England or Wales for a period of three years prior to their 21st birthday.

But these players do not need to be English. Stricter rules could be brought in but Premier League clubs may argue they are being unfairly treated when competing in Europe, for example, against teams from countries that do not enforce any such regulation. …

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