Greg Dyke, the chairman of Football Association, has stated in the media that the English Premier League and Championship are not giving young domestic talent sufficient opportunities at the highest level of English football. He declared that the EPL was gravitating towards being “owned by foreigners, managed by foreigners and played by foreigners.”
Football has one of the most globalized markets for skilled labour and the EPL has embraced the benefits of open borders. Greg Dyke’s concern is plain to see:
There are 500 player jobs in the EPL – 20 teams x 25 players
1990’s – 345 (69%) of the 500 player jobs were filled by English players
Today – 185 (37%) of the 500 player jobs are filled by English players
This is contrast to the La Liga (Spanish League) where 61% of the players were Spanish and 59% of the Bundesliga (German League) were German. It is ironic that both the national sides of Spain and Germany have been most successful in recent times:
Spain – European Champions – 2008 and 2012. World Cup Winners 2010
Germany – World Cup Winners 2014.
Furthermore in the English second tier, the Championship, has seen English players account for less than 50% of the total minutes played during the early months of the current season as calculated by the BBC.
Solution to the English Game
Dykes has lobbied government to impose new limits on the supply of foreign players, by making it harder to get work permits. Furthermore he wants to somehow persuade teams to contract more English players in their squads of 25. In economics this is know as import substitution as Dykes is trying to encourage the development of the domestic industry by imposing protectionist policies. But as pointed out by the New York Times, England is not developing a new industry as football was invented there.
Are foreign players bad for the English game?
The money that it brings into the economy through sponsorship, television rights, shirt sales etc, is significant. Furthermore the English players that do play in the EPL are much better off that their predecessors:
2014/15 season – EPL average salary = £2.3 million
2014/15 season – Championship salary = £486,000
1992/93 season – average salary = £140,000 (adjusted for inflation)
Although fans are arguably watching a very high standard of football in the EPL it is ironic that no side from the EPL made the Quarter-Finals of the European Championship.
The Global Game
Globalisation has increased the competitive balance of international competitions like the World Cup, as players from smaller and less affluent countries, such as Ghana and Uruguay, have more opportunities at the game’s highest levels. That suggests England and other traditional powers are losing ground, in relative terms, because they now face stiffer competition.
Source: New York Times – Globalisation Under attack, on the Soccer Field.