After breaching financial fair play rules, Manchester City were hit with punishments by UEFA. In May, the club was fined approximately $82m, and informed that its wage bill could not increase in the 2014-2015 season. City was also told that the squad it would field in European competition could only contain 21 players – and that of those 21, 8 needed to be home-grown players.
But after protests from FIFPro, the World Players’ Union, UEFA has reduced City’s restrictions. The squad is still limited to just 21 players, but now only 5 must be homegrown. UEFA said it was “appropriate” to reduce the number of home-grown players on the smaller squad, explaining:
It came after a request from the players union FIFPro saying when you take these kind of sanctions and measures you cannot harm the players – and the rights of a player who has a contract – for the behaviour of the clubs. So we looked at it and it was felt appropriate there for the number to be proportionally reduced as well.
The definition of a home-grown player is one who, “who, regardless of their nationality, have been trained by their club – or by another club in the same national association – for at least three years between the age of 15 and 21.” With Joleon Lescott, Micah Richards, and Gareth Barry are all expected to depart this season, Manchester City would have just five home-grown players left in their squad.
And considering they are also limited to spending just $82m (along with whatever revenue raised from sales of players), the club is likely quite relieved that UEFA has eased that particular restriction.