English Premiere League Set to Limit Foreign Imports

English Football Association concerned about declining number of local players in top flight.
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Steven Gerrard Roy Hodgson England
England skipper Steven Gerrard and manager Roy Hodgson attend a press conference ahead of their friendly against Denmark, 4 March. Reuters

In a bid to promote local talent, the English Football Association is making steps towards limiting the number of Non-European Union players in the English Premiere League. A 10-man FA commission which includes Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand and National Team Manager Roy Hodgson, was formed to investigate the issue.

Only 66 English players who are currently eligible to represent England are playing for one of the 20 EPL teams. English FA Chairman Greg Dyke wants to increase that number to 90 by 2022.

One proposal being put forward to achieve this goal is a stricter policy on issuing work permits for foreign athletes. This calls for the implementation of a blanket ban for Non-EU players for clubs that are not in the Premiere League.

According to a BBC study commissioned by Dyke in October 2013, the highly successful Spanish National Team which has won the last two European Championships and the 2010 FIFA World Cup has local players on the pitch for 59% of the top flight minutes. Germany, another successful national team, has local players on the pitch for 50% of Bundesliga minutes. English players on the other hand, account for only 32% of Premiership pitch time.

The underperforming English national team has only reached the semi-finals of only two major international events since 1966 when they won the FIFA World Cup at home.

England Manager Roy Hodgson is set to reveal his 23-man squad on Monday for the upcoming World Cup finals in Brazil. The FA commission fears that if the trend continues, future England managers might not have enough players to choose from when building a national team.

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