UEFA president Michel Platini is hoping to increase parity across the top European teams by increasing the homegrown squad requirement in the Champions League.
“What is important in the future is to limit the possibility to have the best players in one team. That is important for competition,” Platini told the July edition of “World Soccer” magazine. “If everybody is in one team that is not so good.”
The Champions League currently requires eight players out of 25 to be “homegrown,” with four of those to be “club-trained” and four to be “association trained.”
Platini’s idea, on the surface, is a practical one and seems to make sense. However, we’ve seen this summer that the rule only serves to send clubs into a panic, thus overspending on domestic players to fulfill the rule. Manchester City lost James Milner, Frank Lampard, Dedryck Boyata, Scott Sinclair and Micah Richards this summer, resulting in the expenditure of around $87 million on Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph, and Patrick Roberts.
The price of English players in England has swelled enormously in recent years, and while the same hasn’t been the case in other top leagues around Europe, the wealth of top English players has shrunk in recent years, lending to the ballooning in price.
Platini pointed to the top-heavy nature of La Liga to make his point. “With the Bosman rule, you can have all the best players in the same team,” Platini said. “In the past in Spain, you have Real Madrid, Atletico (Madrid), Barcelona, Valencia – a lot of teams – and all the players were in different teams. Now, more or less, the best players are in one or two clubs.”
Unfortunately, amending the Champions League rules would only affect the top teams, but adding an extra club-trained requirement could force teams to begin drawing from their own talent pool rather than that of other domestic clubs. Platini believes if the current trend continues, Champions League parity could be forever lost.
“It is not possible that the best teams would have all the best players or competition itself is finished,” Platini said. “At the moment you have big clubs with a lot of money who can have everybody. We have to think about football in all of Europe not only in two or three clubs.”