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Wenger wary of foreign crackdown

19 September 2014, 17:35

London - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned that proposals by the Football Association to cut the number of players from outside the European Union could dilute the quality of the English game.

England haven't won a major tournament since lifting the World Cup on home soil in 1966 and bowed out of this year's edition in Brazil without winning a match.

FA chairman Greg Dyke's England Commission has made proposals to reduce the number of overseas players by up to 50 percent, including banning clubs sending such players out on loan and preventing teams in the Football League, which runs the three divisions immediately below the lucrative top-flight Premier League, from signing them at all.

As Britain is a member of the European Union, it must abide by its rules on the free movement of peoples between member states.

But the FA's planned restriction on non-EU footballers would also mean only players from the top 50-ranked countries in the world could be signed unless the transfer fee is more than a fixed figure, either 10 million ($16 million, 13 million euros) or 15 million ($25 million, 19 million euros).

Also read: Wenger pleads for Ozil

During his 18 years in charge of Arsenal, French boss Wenger has often been criticised for preferring to sign non-British players although his current squad includes the England quartet of Calum Chambers, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.


Wenger accepted Dyke was right in one respect but warned against "artificial protection of the mediocrity".

"I read what he (Greg Dyke) said and honestly I am for the competition worldwide, but he has a point that it is difficult to get non-EU players in the youth system and then to loan them out. That's where he has a point," Wenger said Friday.

"You want the best players in the world to be here, but if you go for them you cannot take them and loan them out somewhere else. Maybe he has a point there.

"Do they take room in the education of the young English players? I don't think so. It is a deep debate and it is very difficult to have a definite opinion.

"What is for sure is you do not want artificial protection of the mediocrity and that's where you have to be very careful because this is a job where we're very well paid, therefore you want top, top quality.

"You want to be the best Premier League in the world so you want to be top quality and open to the best players in the world, but the best way to respond and to fulfill all the expectation of the FA is to produce good top quality young players. England is on its way but there is still a job to do."

Dyke's commission is set to make further announcements in October.



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