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Squad Rules OK?

Squad Rules OK?

It`s not often I disagree with Le Boss though he can confuse me as much as anyone else at times. I can`t help but feel he`s rather unnecessarily getting his pantaloons in a twist over this season`s 25 man squad rule though.

As they have no immediate or even prospective medium impact on our squad it`s surprising but he`s been pretty vocal about it recently. Late last month he labelled the scheme a 'disastrous decision for football' going on to say "First, it puts many players without clubs. That's the mathematical consequence. Secondly, it puts the clubs in a weak position in the transfer market because when you already have 25 players and you buy another one, you know you now have to get rid of one.

"You have to calculate when you buy a player how much it costs to get rid of one. The big clubs will always have 25 top players and you will not stop that by this kind of decision. When the big clubs employ a player and he has to go to a smaller club there are only two solutions: the smaller club has to pay above their own potential or the big club pays part of his salary. In either case it's not satisfactory."

Now I don`t want to see players unemployed but frankly I don`t see much wrong with any of that. The average first team squad size in the big European Leagues is only about 25 to 28 players anyway and that complement has usually included a few under 21`s for which there isn`t any limit under the new regulations. It probably wouldn`t even have been considered an issue at all until Chelsea and more latterly Manchester City decided that the quickest route to success is to play a form of billionaire`s poker and attempt to buy up the market. These are the clubs primarily inconvenienced by these new rules.

If a player has taken the eye-bulging wages on offer at clubs such as these and then suffers the career crippling experiences of someone like Shaun Wright-Philips as a consequence then more fool him I say. They`ll still have their pension funds to fall back on and plenty of time to waggle their bling at whatever current hotspot night club chavs might favour. It`s not as though entirely new ground is being broken here in that Chelsea found they had to subsidise Crespo`s salary in Italy for quite a few years as a result of an injudicious purchase. Craig Bellamy and Shaun Given aren`t going to lose out financially but I take a bit of perverse pleasure in seeing that in their cases money isn`t buying complete happiness. If their careers are important to them then like any other employee career choices in the real world players need to take care about the decisions they make and their reasons for making them.

Earlier today Wenger expressed his displeasure once more at the squad rule citing the Fifa statute which allows a player to cancel his contract with `sporting just cause`.

"Do not forget that in England if a player plays less than 10 per cent of games in a season - which is a FIFA rule - you can get rid of your contract. I would like to know when they voted in the Premier League that they knew this rule. It would not count if you are injured. But if you do not play enough games, you can get in front of a FIFA commission that then decides how much money you have to pay to buy out your contract. If you are not in the 25 how can you play? Yet a player who doesn`t play more than 10 per cent of games can go to FIFA and say I want to get rid of my contract."

That ruling might be given more effect with the squad rules but it`s been there for some time and doesn`t apply only in England. It`s been one reason why it isn`t really possible just to dump a want-a-way player on the bench for a season to teach him a lesson in loyalty. But then why on earth would you want to keep a player you wouldn`t wish to pick for as much 10% of the available games? That would be just 6 games or less in an average season - less than 4 league games. What on earth is he doing in the squad?

The real effect of that is to pretty well oblige clubs with more than 25 players over the age of 21 to sell before they buy or possibly take a big loss. In that case they should be very careful who they buy and what they pay for him. Isn`t that just the sort of prudence, albeit enforced, that Wenger has advocated his entire career anyway?

Arsene`s on more secure ground for me on the aspects of the ruling which has an oblique effect on the potential nationality constraints inherent in the 'homegrown` element.

"The 'home-grown` rule is artificial, it`s nothing to do with standards" he told reporters last week "They will create more rules like that for home-grown players, but it`s all rubbish" as he continued "I don`t know whether it`s self-preservation, but it is not linked with quality. If you want to stay the best league in the world, every way of thinking has to be linked with how you can make the best even better. The Premier League have to decide whether they are here to prepare the England national team, and they have to kick everyone out, or are they here to produce the best league in the world? That`s the decision you have to make."

The present construction of the homegrown rule isn`t as yet too inhibiting which is why so few teams have fallen foul of it. Unwelcome though it is in principle, only if the suits were encouraged to extend this artificial constraint on quality would it start to pose any real problems. Can we trust them not to interfere further? Probably not, but that aside I don`t share Wenger`s concerns about these rules.

Together with the gradual impact that Uefa financial fair play rules will eventually exert on the ability of clubs to distort the player markets this is likely to provide a more favourable competitive environment for Arsenal. It will clip the wings of the 'loadsamoney` clubs and will to some extent level the playing field for the clubs outside the customary top four too. The more equal the competition can be the better it will be for the game as a whole.

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Date:Tuesday August 17 2010
Time: 6:38PM


I think the frustration coming from the boss is the frustrations of a football lover rather than the manager of Arsenal Football Club. When you get AW in a room to talk about football without the presence of 100 hacks and journos he'll really open up about his love of the game and with that will come comments on the flaws of it too.
17/08/2010 19:20:00
I think he's been frustrated by his fruitless raid of the transfer market and can see a correlation with this squad rule. Didn't he mention something about the Stephen Ireland to Villa deal being complicated by his demand for £2m upon leaving and that he felt such incidences would be more commonplace than ever?
Little Dutch
17/08/2010 19:36:00
Hey boys and girls. It's nice to be back into the football. Don't mind the draw Sunday, though it did mess with my hopes of us winning the entire season you know. Forget about unbeaten, I want 114 points, that's what I want. In other news, the team that plays up the road (or is it down) is 3-0 down in their qualifier with 30 minutes played. Meh...
17/08/2010 20:25:00
I remember reading a very nice article about how the squad rules affect us, I though it was on swiss ramble, but I can't seem to find it now...
17/08/2010 20:49:00
Here it is actually:
17/08/2010 20:54:00
I think the boss isn't worried about AFC situation with the new rules. I think he's being neutral and critical.. Spud still down 3-1...LOL Come on Young Boys!!! more please!!! :D
17/08/2010 20:58:00
Anelka got an 18 match-ban, Van Persie didn't have the greatest tournament and I feel KNVB should punish him with the same ban.
17/08/2010 22:08:00
If a young player blossomes after the age of 21, then he will have to leave the club and the club will lose a talent; or the player has to accept to sit out and hope for the squad to be changed. So, it's going to be very difficult for clubs to make decision on players who are about to reach the age of 21. player like Mark Randall and Jay Simpson will be affected. If they choose to stay at Arsenal, they'll find themselves out of the squad. But if they choose to leave, the club who recruit them might have the upper hand to force them to accept low wages. Any thought?
far easter
17/08/2010 22:23:00
No wonder you get so few comments on this site, your articles are far too long. If I wanted to read this much I'd buy the Times!
Paul - THFC Forever
17/08/2010 22:32:00
Wenger continues to be a lone voice of dissent on this subject; unfortunately, until the full impact of the decision begins to manifest, the egg heads at the FA will stand their ground. I feel he has a point as it will tilt the balance of power significantly in any contract negotiation.

OT. Tee hee! I have more important things to do than think about trolling; otherwise, won't it be nice to see how they are doing at the VS site, seeing they were unable to stick it to young boys? Tee hee hee!! Big mouths!
17/08/2010 22:40:00
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