PtG Article 11.06.2009

Foreign players are not flooding Premier league

Claims that the youth systems at Premier League football clubs in England are being flooded with overseas players are wide of the mark according to new research.

A study carried out by Southampton Solent University looking at Premier League Under-18 teams between the 2003/03 and 2006/07 seasons shows that there were just 193 non-British players compared to 1,207 from Britain.

Speaking at Play The Game, Doctor Richard Elliott from Southampton Solent University, who worked on the study, said: “Statistical analysis does not show that overseas players are flooding the Premier League academies. The analysis shows that foreign players are not standing in the way of indigenous players getting contracts.”The majority of the non-British players identified in the study came from the European Union.The next largest amount came from Africa, mainly the children of refugees. Although the study did not differentiate between players from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Dr Elliott said that the majority of British players at Premier League U-18 sides are from England.The project was initiated by the Premier League and carried out with the support and involvement of the Professional Footballers Association (PFA). Dr Elliott claimed that the involvement of a small minority of overseas players would help stimulate improvement among academy players from Britain.“I’ve been into the acadmies and spoken to the coaches,” he added. “The involvement of foreign players is a positive element and improves standards.“In the Premier League academies, the foreign youth players possess different work ethics and particular technical ability. By working regularly with these players, this improves the ability of the indigenous players.“Moving forward there is likely to be a 50/50 split of indigenous and overseas players in what is the best funded and best televised league in the world.”