EPL News Wrap Sept 14

Ryan Giggs scored an enormous goal on a free kick on Saturday against Tottenham. The game was one of the most entertaining I have watched all year. But That is all I have for that story. (Courtesy James Adams flickr)

Ryan Giggs scored an enormous goal on a free kick on Saturday against Tottenham. The game was one of the most entertaining I have watched all year. But that is all I have for that story. (Courtesy James Adams flickr)

By Kevin Koczwara

I was going to start this off by talking about the Manchester United vs Tottenham match from Saturday. But I got this tweet from ESPN Soccernet when I turned on my computer: “Premier League bring in home grown quotas: The Premier League has announced that from next season every team must..”

This is big news for all Premier League clubs. Now clubs can’t just buy up other teams talent (Manchester City of this summer), they need to develop it. Teams must grow talent. Plant seeds, water them, and fertilize until they are big and strong.. Clubs must be more like the Porto’s and Lyon’s of the world — not saying they are perfect either, but their model is certainly much more affordable.

Here is the rule change in a nutshell:

  • Teams can only have 17 foreign players on their roster.
  • Teams can only have 25 players over the age of 21 on their roster.
  • Of the 25 players on a roster, 8 must be homegrown talent– a player must have been developed by an English or Welsh club for 3 years before their 21 birthday.

What this rule also introduces is better bookkeeping. This is huge as so many of the Clubs in England are struggling with what looks like insurmountable debts. Now Premier League officials we be keeping an eye on spending, making sure teams don’t run the Leeds United root and end up in a financial hole almost as large as the United States debt.

But what will the negative impact be from this rule? It will lead to many more small market clubs calling foul on big market teams as top English sides attempt  steal the next generation players from small youth academies across the world. If the Premier League hopes to keep this rule in place they will need to be more lenient on how teams can approach teenagers from other academies.  Transfer window bans might suffocate clubs into relegation.

What hopefully comes of this rule change will be more homegrown talent in the Premier League’s top clubs. It would be nice to see more Liverpool academy players on the pitch, rather than so many purchased players from overseas. I would love to see more clubs follow a model of player acquisition to that of Arsenal–affordable and always competitive (but do not be to stingy like Mr. Wenger).

I wonder how this will affect teams in other leagues. Players that rise through an academy in England and become stars will almost become invaluable, yet players from other leagues will loose some of their umph because there is less space for them.

I am skeptical of the new rule changes, but also glad it has happened. With the global economy in a slump, still, Soccer clubs need to know that they are not protected by a large entity (like the U.S Government) that can bail them out (you know like banks).

Eduardo Ban Lifted?

Eduardo has been relieved of his two match ban for a dive against Celtic. What does this mean? That UEFA is still not sure of itself when it makes a decision. Something that turns off many Americans from the game of soccer is the lack of clarity in a lot of rules, either a foul is a foul or it isn’t.

An example of this would be the advantage call in a game. When a foul occurs and the team that is fouled continues to play on because the foul did not impede a tactical advantage for the defending team. This doesn’t make sense to people. My father questions it each time it happens. And yet until tonight I could never explain it. Now I can. Here I go:

An advantage call is much like a holding call in football–play continues until some sort of stoppage occurs. Then the fouled team can either take the result of the penalty or the outcome of the play. The only difference here is that the penalized team doesn’t have time to chose because play in soccer is continuous. So the referee must make a judgment on the call. And many times they get right.

As for the dive in question, I have watched the reply many times and my mind flip-flops each time I watch it. But I give Eduardo the benefit of the doubt on the fall due to his past injury (video not for the faint of heart). I feel the referee made the right decision and UEFA should have stuck with his call in the first place.  It is bad policy to switch your decision to many times.

As for Eduardo and Arsenal, they are ecstatic to have the Croatian striker on board for their Champions League opener against Standard Liège tomorrow. He is a key component to their offense, especially with Arsharvin out of action. Arsenal need some success in this years Champions League to justify the sales of Adebayor and Kolo Toure during the summer transfer window.

Liverpool Make Record Endorsement Deal

There is some good financial news coming out of Anfield this week. There must be a glitch in the Universe or something. Or God is playing a cruel joke on Liverpool fans.

The new jersey sponsorship with Standard Chartered Bank is believed to be in the range of £80m for four years. That is a staggering number for a jersey sponsorship. Something Liverpool needed to put some more faith in the American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett. (Here is what the new jerseys may look like.)

With Gillett’s sale of the Montreal Canadians, the backing of the Royal Bank of Scotland, and now the jersey sponsorship, Liverpool look to be in better financial shape. Does that mean that the Red’s will begin to flex their muscle during the January transfer window? Or will their squad be healthy enough and playing well enough that they don’t need to make any moves? Maybe some youngsters will step-up in Champions League play and allow for the Reds to move some bodies out of Anfield.

Now that Liverpool has some money, the rest of the Premier League should watch out for Rafa and the Reds.

Kevin Koczwara is the creator and an editor and contributing writer for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at kkoczwar@gmail.com or fansoffutbol@gmail.com. Check out his other blog Feel Da Beat for his thoughts on the world and pop-culture.

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