Monday, September 14, 2009

English Premier League....Protectionism & Nativism at their finest

Today, Barclays English Premier League chief executive Rich Scudamore announced:

"As of next season clubs will be required to have a squad named of up to 25 players, of which no more than 17 can be over the age of 21 and not home grown."

A home grown player is "any player who has played for an English or Welsh club for three years before their 21st birthday. (ESPN)"

The EPL's new exclusionary policy seems, at its heart, to directly contradict the notions of international professionalism and premier football. From what I can discern, this policy aims to a) maintain a high class of football in the English National program, b) maintain a high presence of english footballers among England's premier professional club teams, c) limit the extravagant transfer spending and high wages that accompany competing for widely-desired international talent, and, perhaps most importantly d) encourage the fan/footballer relationship among both english fans and the footballers themselves.

In actuality, it is likely to a) distort salary wages between international and english players in an effort to keep the premiere English talent while filling international talent into fewer available roster spots, b) worsen the overall caliber of EPL play, and, ultimately, c) worsen the overall face of the EPL throughout the international football community.

This policy is snobbish and elitist; an attempt at buoyancy, a last stand by a fearful and sinking football superpower. Racism, ethnocentrism, and nativism are woven throughout the policy, as is economic protectionism in its definition.

In America, as an American sports fan, I've never experienced or been privy to the notion of losing national stardom to an international league -- in most instances, international talent comes to America (NBA, NFL, PGA Tour, etc.). Within the context of soccer (sorry, ugh), our rare national talent has traveled to international leagues (often unsuccessfully), but, nevertheless, it's not as if I, or anybody for that matter, was hoping they'd play in the MLS -- in every instance its benefited the nation's soccer program as a whole.

While I admit that I lack context in collecting my thoughts on this issue, I do feel a certain relevancy in terms of the merit of professional club football. Most consider the EPL to offer the highest class of professional football in the world and the EPL certainly broadcasts themselves within that proclivity.

I dislike the policy because it is exclusionary and protectionist, it will worsen the caliber of team skill in the EPL because it discourages an international marketplace approach to the game where players are sought out of need and adequacy and then promptly forced out due to inadequacy and need. My fear as a fan is that other countries and their respective leagues will reflexively adopt or strengthen existing policies, hence lowering the overall caliber of professional football.

This policy sounds very Republican. . .


There are other financial elements to the policy which I don't understand (see BBC article (HERE) for a comprehensive report).

Quote taken from ESPN Soccernet (Here)

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