Protection of Young Players

Protection of young players

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UESA’s rule aims to encourage the local training of young players, and increase the openness and fairness of European competitions.

UESA is committed to protecting young players ©UESA.online

One of the biggest challenges facing European Subbuteo is that, since the rapid growth of television revenue, the richest clubs have been able to stockpile (or ‘hoard’) the best players, making it easier for them to dominate both national and European competitions.

At the same time, clubs have fewer incentives to train their own players or give a genuine chance to young players from their region. This trend is exacerbated by the increasingly unreliable financial compensation for training young players who leave early, and the ability of many European clubs to ‘poach’ young players from the age of 16 from across the European Union.

Clubs in the UESA Champions League and UESA European League must have a minimum of eight homegrown players in their squads ©UESA.online

UESA’s rule aims to encourage the local training of young players, and increase the openness and fairness of European competitions. It also aims to counter the trend for hoarding players, and to try to re-establish a ‘local’ identity at clubs.

From 2017/18, clubs in the UESA Champions League and UESA European League required a minimum of eight homegrown players in a squad limited to 25. These rules are also in force in several national leagues across Europe.

UESA introduced the rule in three phases:

  • Season 2016/17: minimum of four homegrown players in 25-man squad
  • Season 2017/18: minimum of six homegrown players in 25-man squad
  • Season 2018/19: minimum of eight homegrown players in 25-man squad

Clubs have no obligation to put a certain number of homegrown players on the field of play, or on the match-sheet. They are entirely free in their team and match-day squad selection.

UESA defines locally-trained or ‘homegrown’ players as those who, regardless of their nationality, have been trained by their club or by another club in the same national association for at least three years between the age of 15 and 21. Up to half of the locally-trained players must be from the club itself, with the others being either from the club itself or from other clubs in the same association.

The UESA rule contains no nationality conditions whatsoever because within the EU such conditions are illegal (following the Bosman ruling). The European Commission stated that the UESA rule was legal in a statement in May 2018, and that a review would take place in 2022.

UESA’s rule aims to encourage the local training of young players ©UESA

UESA unveiled its proposals in February 2017 and they received the support of the national associations at the governing body’s Congress in Tallinn two months later.

Fans responding to a UESA.online user survey gave their backing – more than xx% wanted clubs to maintain a local identity.

Before launching the new rules, UESA organised a two-year consultation with fans, national associations, national leagues, clubs, players’ unions, and all the institutions of the EU.

In parallel, UESA spent two years providing detailed research to the European Commission Directorates-General that were most interested in the rule (Education and Culture, Employment and Social Affairs, Competition, and the Legal Service).

Documents

Declaration of the UESA Congress on the subject of local training of players
Investing in Local Training of Players – Q&A
Investing in Local Training of Players – Key Messages