UEFA Chief Executive Lars-Christer Olsson has reiterated the reasons for UEFA's campaign backing local recruitment and fostering of homegrown players throughout Europe.
In his editorial in the latest edition of the UEFA publication uefadirect, Mr Olsson said that solutions had to be found which would help the development of young homegrown players in clubs, thereby also benefiting national teams in the long run.
UEFA is at the vanguard of the debate within the European football community about possible ways of enabling homegrown players to have regular action in club first teams without violating European Union legislation on, for example, freedom of movement between different countries.
Earlier this month, the European body issued proposals for the inclusion of a minimum number of at least seven or eight homegrown players out of the 18 players on match sheets, and a limitation on the number of players in club squads to 25. The proposals are now being put to all major sporting, commercial and political stakeholders in European football.
"Behind the recent success of the latest [UEFA] European Championship final round lurk many concerns thrown up by the famous Bosman ruling, which, at international level, made it easier for players to move clubs and removed the limitations previously imposed by the national and international football authorities," said Mr Olsson.
"One of the consequences of this explosion of transfers is that it has become more difficult in some countries for young players to work their way up to their club's first team, a struggle which may make them turn their backs on football and take up another sport instead," he added. "Of course, a talented youngster always manages to make room for himself, but even he needs suitable training in order to develop and make the most of his skills.
"But training is expensive; it sometimes costs even more than talent scouting, and requires patience," Mr Olsson continued. "Many clubs prefer scouting for and taking on promising young players from all over Europe and even beyond, whom they can, if need be, loan to lower division or less ambitious clubs until they are trained."
The UEFA Chief Executive warned of the possible damage that could be caused to national-team football by the current situation. "In the long or even medium term, this situation could cause our national teams serious problems in terms of rejuvenating their squads," he said. "In Portugal, it was clear that some are already suffering from this phenomenon, just as it was noticeable that national playing characteristics are becoming indistinguishable – another obvious effect of this major intermixing of players.
"So that is why, among other reasons, it is high time to find solutions conforming with European legislation that can compensate for these drawbacks in terms of training and national identity, not to mention the identification of clubs with their town/city or region as well," the UEFA CEO urged.
"In response to this situation, we want to encourage local recruitment in all the countries of Europe, while assuming social and sporting responsibility for young players. This is the direction we want to take, with the support of the national associations, who gave us their full backing at the recent Conference of Presidents and General Secretaries in Lisbon."
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