With top-flight managers juggling players around in their heads, and Arsene Wenger complaining about the ‘disastrous’ decision, Premier League clubs now have to name a 25-man squad at the end of each transfer window, with a minimum of eight home-grown players in this squad.
These ‘home-grown’ players do not have to be English. Home-grown players are considered as players who “irrespective of nationality or age, have been affiliated to the FA or Welsh FA for a period of three seasons or 36 months prior to their 21st birthday”. This simply means that if a player was signed for a club anytime before his 18th birthday, he would be considered home-grown after his 21st birthday.
Premier League teams are also allowed an unlimited number of under 21 players. These players can be rotated throughout the team, which will help managers who have injury concerns, and hopefully in turn give young players opportunities to showcase their talents.
Changes to the 25-man roster can only be made during transfer windows, and as soon as the squad is registered no changes can be made. However, the FA has indicated that in certain situations, ones in which teams are left completely stranded, there may be room for negotiation.
The new rule also states that players in the 25-man squad who are loaned out to Football League clubs, cannot be replaced by another player. They can however, regain their spot on their original parent club on their return.
Lastly, this rule only applies to Premier League clubs, and only applies in the Premier League itself. So for teams lucky enough to play in European competitions, they can choose from a full squad.
The general idea behind this new rule is to strengthen the English youth system by hopefully creating chances for young English talent to break into first teams all over the league, whether it be at Manchester United or Blackpool.
Personally, I think this is a step forward for English football, not a major step, but a little forward progress nonetheless.