(Reuters) – The English Football Association’s plan to cap the number of overseas players at Premier League clubs has run into opposition from West Ham United and Watford.
The FA has proposed reducing the number of foreign players in each Premier League squad to 12 from 17 after Britain leaves the European Union in an attempt to boost the number of homegrown players in the English top-flight.
If the proposal goes through, 12 of the league’s 20 clubs will have to reduce the number of overseas players in their squads, though the FA contends this will not result in a net fall in the total number of overseas players in the league.
FA chief executive Martin Glenn explained the proposal at Thursday’s Premier League shareholders meeting, but West Ham United co-chairman David Gold told the Daily Telegraph there was no evidence to support the governing body’s view.
“Why would you change it?” Gold asked. “We have to do some further investigation and make sure we have all of the details. There’s no evidence so to speak to support (Glenn’s) proposal.
“(The FA) are looking into it and we are looking into it. We are very supportive of English football… but we don’t want to be doing things that isn’t going to work. We have got to look at the options and look at the evidence.”
West Ham have 16 overseas players in their 25-man squad for the 2018-19 season and the FA plan would see them need to reduce that number by four if the proposal came into effect.
Watford operations director Glyn Evans, whose club are at the current maximum limit of 17 overseas players, is also opposed to the idea.
“We want to keep the status quo,” he said. “We want (the homegrown player quota) to stay as it is.
“We will continue to try and sign the best of the best to maintain the Premier League as being the best league in the world, a global British brand that delivers significant revenue to this country. Anyone currently here can carry on being here.”
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by John O’Brien)