Belfast Telegraph

League opposed to Dyke rule change

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has cast doubt over the Football Association's power to force through chairman Greg Dyke's plan to increase the number of homegrown players in top-flight squads.

It is understood the 20 clubs will strongly combat any attempt by the FA chairman to force through the new regulations and that stance would call into question whether Dyke's hopes of increasing the number of homegrown players in Premier League squads from eight to 12 could be implemented.

Scudamore claims clubs were told by Dyke at a meeting on Thursday that the FA could not impose the change.

The Premier League chief executive said on Friday: "Two very important things came out of that meeting yesterday. Consultation - Greg committed the clubs to a full consultation on it .

"I know he's done lots of media this week, but we haven't actually seen his consultation document, we haven't seen the process. When that arrives on our desks in the fullness of X number of weeks, we will consult properly on it.

"Greg also made it quite clear when a direct question from a club was asked of him, they said, 'Can the FA impose this if we don't want to do it?' He was quite clear that they couldn't.

"We'll enter the consultation phase as we always do. We will consult and we will get back to it in due course."

The Premier League is willing to consult on the change but is likely to resist it, preferring instead to invest in youth and facilities which, given time, it hopes will reap rewards.

Dyke, who has also proposed changing the rules so that a 'homegrown' player is defined as one who has trained in England for three years before the age of 18 rather than 21, on Tuesday was asked if the FA has the power to force through the changes.

Speaking in Vienna, he said: "We have, but that's not the way we want to go."

Dyke was asked about the comment by representatives from Southampton at Thursday's meeting and while there is understood to be nothing to stop the FA from passing the regulation, it would not be popular.

Dyke's proposal to toughen up homegrown player rules has the backing of UEFA president Michel Platini, who hinted that he intends to follow suit.

Should UEFA implement the regulations, then the Premier League would likely have to back down.

Dyke was quiet on the subject on Friday and Scudamore was reluctant to discuss it when the pair appeared alongside sports minister Helen Grant in Brixton, south-west London on Friday.

A joint Premier League, FA and Government initiative to build more 3G pitches in 150 sport hubs across 30 cities over the next five years was announced, a move which followed the second part of Dyke's 'England Commission' report last October which proposed an overhaul of grassroots facilities.

Standing alongside the 3G pitch installed at Evelyn Grace Academy, Scudamore added: "The biggest thing we can do to get more homegrown players is the initiative that we're announcing today.

"This is as much about getting more homegrown players playing for England as anything.

"The announcement about 3G pitches is essential in terms of creating more hours of playing time, more access to coaching time."

Asked about Dyke's homegrown player plans, Grant said: "Anything that's going to get us a World Cup or European Cup has to be looked at.

"Greg has come up with some interesting ideas, he's got the debate going and that's how we're going to get the success that we all want.

"Football needs to work out what football wants."

A united front was presented, with Scudamore insisting balanced co-operation was essential.

"The great thing about a three-legged stool is that they fall over if any one of the legs gets sawn off," Scudamore said.

"The only way anything stands is if all the legs on the stool are the same length.

"We all have to work hard at that. The truth is, ever since I've been involved, two can keep the other one honest.

"Whether that's us and the FA holding the Government to the fire, or whether it's the two of them making sure the clubs step up.

"Any two keep the other one involved and engaged."

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