Europe's national football associations have approved UEFA's proposals on the local training of players at the XXIX Ordinary UEFA Congress in Tallinn, Estonia today.
Essential for football
The presidents of UEFA's 52 member associations also issued a declaration endorsing UEFA's proposals. They insisted that the training and development of young players was essential for football's well-being, to provide talent in each European country and also help increase the quality of, and competition between national teams.
Part to play
"The training and development of young players is of crucial importance to the future of football. Every football club in every national football association should play a part in this process," the declaration said.
"Football clubs have an important social and educational role in their local communities, in their regions, and in their countries. In this context, the nurturing of local talent is not only beneficial for football as a sport. It is also beneficial for society as a whole.
"UEFA recognises that finance plays an important part in football today. But football should not be a mere financial contest. It should above all be a sporting contest. This sporting element means that every club must accept some responsibility for training, and not rely solely on acquiring those players who were trained by others.
Pool of talent
"Training should be encouraged in every national member association of UEFA. This will, in turn, help to provide a pool of playing talent in every European country and can also help to increase the quality of, and competition between, national teams."
UEFA's proposals on local training of players were issued recently, following an extensive consultation process with all of the major stakeholders in European football. The regulations would apply to future UEFA club competitions, and UEFA has also asked its associations to consider applying the same rule to their domestic tournaments.
Under the proposals, the 'A' list that teams submit for UEFA club competitions would continue to be limited to 25 players, and from season 2006/07, at least two places on this list would be reserved for players trained by a club's own academy with a further two places for players trained by other clubs from within the same association of the said club.
In the following two seasons, one additional place for a club-trained player and one additional place for an association-trained player would be reserved on the 'A' list, so that by the 2008/09 campaign, each club would have in its 25-man squad four club trained and four association-trained players.
UEFA is concerned that some clubs are not training enough of their own players, but simply taking them from elsewhere. The measures have the objective of creating a better balance in domestic competitions, preventing clubs from simply 'hoarding' players in squads and creating a system whereby
locally-trained players would be given a greater opportunity to play regularly in club sides - thereby guaranteeing a large reservoir of talent for national teams.
"It is a matter of fundamental importance for the future of football," UEFA vice-president Per Ravn Omdal told the Congress in Tallinn. "We have to improve the quality of player training - and after a consultation process on our proposals, we believe that a broad consensus has emerged.
'Future of football'
"UEFA has a responsibility to deal with the issue to safeguard the future of football. Not enough is being done to train young players."
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