I am instinctively in favor of increasing the “local” influence in the PL, but when I analyze my reasons for this I find myself a bit naïve.
I feel it would enhance the local support that I find extremely important. And as Keano, millions of viewers of televised games would hate a “prawnsandwichification”.
A lack of atmosphere at the stadiums would be an economic disaster as it’s an integral part of the football experience, even for the people watching from the couch (have you watched any Serie A games between teams placed below 7th? – I can’t be bothered to watch as the empty stadium provide no foundation for the battle).
Still Arsenal sell out most games with or without UK players in the squad, and with a decent atmosphere, so is it really as important as I want it to be?
Maybe most fans take success before a strong local bond (even when it comes to a new owner). After all, there are several local teams with strong local bonds but without success to choose from, but few do.
But let’s say, for the case of argument, that we embrace the thought of more “local” players in the PL and that the nurturing of local talent is a good thing, is the UEFA or the FIFA way the right way to go?
The 6+5 rule FIFA advocates is at first sight the more appealing. With a stroke of a wand we increase the number of English players fielded in the PL. However there are some points to consider.
1. The obstacle of EU legislation is one not easily overcome. Jan Figel, the European commissioner I mentioned in the 6+5 post below, mockfully urged FIFA to impose the 6+5 rule in the EU as it would provoke a Bosman-like lawsuit “And they would win". (In my eyes this all but kills the 6+5 rule but I’ll give you some additional thoughts just the same)
2. The high average of Spanish players in the Primera liga (and in Serie A) is said to be in part achieved by granting every player with even a remote ancestral connection with the respective countries citizenship. Thereby the 6+5 rule will be too easy to bypass.
3. It only concerns the starting lineup. Anyone but me that would expects an increase in mysterious and reoccurring injuries on UK players during the early part of the game?
The UEFA “home-grown player” initiative has its upsides but struggles with other problems
1. Lack of impact as I outline in the last post
2. UEFA can implement this in their own tournaments, thereby can do something without the acceptance of national government bodies.
3. UEFA cannot implement too hard rules in their competitions as this would “force” the biggest European clubs to create their own competitions/shows...
4. Has more or less an OK from the EU
5. Some are worried that it would spark an increased signing of very young players of other nationalities. This young talent may benefit from being nurtured locally rather than being revamped into a home-grown player in a foreign country.