Arsenala s Arsene Wenger has hit out at the FA for trying to bring in new regulations limiting the number of foreign players that clubs can have in their squads.
If you are unaware of the proposed changes to the squad composition, herea s the gist.
- The number of home-grown players that clubs should have in their 25 man squad would be increased from 8 to 12 over a period of 4 years starting from 2016.
- For a player to be deemed home-grown, the player needs to be registered by the age of 15, rather than the present age of 18 years.
- To be granted permission to play in England, only the best non-EU foreign players would be allowed.
Arsene said, a I believe that we are in the world of competition. Competition means who of you or me is the best one. We have to accept that.
a That means as well that the rules of the game must be structured to favour the best. Or we are not in a competition anymore.
a So we can say one of two things a we protect the mediocre or we produce the best players.
a I personally would support hugely to pay super people who think about how we can produce players from five years old to 20 years old to be as good as they can be rather than protect them through wrong mediocre rules.
a I give you two examples. In Yugoslavia in the past they decided you had to play three players on the team sheet who were under 21. What happened? They became professional subs. It happened in France, too.
a Then they decided you had to play three players under-21 from the start. You know what happened? They subbed all three after five minutes.
a If we want to sell the Premier League for a huge amount of money then we need to say: a buy this, this is the best in the world.a You cannot go against the quality and what is at the heart of our job which is competition.
a The best must be the best. Thata s why I will fight against it. I have very little power but I dona t think the idea is right.a
Even as far back as 2008, Wenger has maintained that merit should always take precedence. He said back then, a I believe that the pride in sport is that if you have the quality you play. If it was my son and he wasna t good enough, he could never play at Arsenal.
a You have the example of Barack Obama in the United States a that is one of the countries where, if you have the quality, you will make it. When the system brings people to the top just because they have the quality, I think that is right. And in sport that is the case.a