The internet is full of ‘crack-pot’ ideas, from personal jet-packs to underwater hotels (as proposed by Joe Cala, one of Pompey’s former prospective owners proposed).
Occasionally some of these ideas take root. Back in November 2011, Blogger Maracanazo proposed an alternative FFP punishment to the outright ban suggested by the rules. He suggested that overspending clubs could be docked points from the group stage of the Champions League or Europa League. Perhaps Platini reads his site, because this exact-same punishment was subsequently proposed and agreed by UEFA.
Indeed, FFP itself is a rather odd set of regulations. Broadly, the aim is to tackle overspending, by restricting clubs’ spend on players wages. However, owing to the complexities of EU laws, an outright salary-cap would inevitably fail the ‘restraint of trade’ test. UEFA’s FFP rules instead requires clubs to broadly break-even –thereby introducing the desired ‘salary cap’ by an alternative and legally acceptable route.
Recently, the age-old discussions on having a quota system of English players within the Premier League have recently resurfaced. Roy Hodgson expressed concern that the new Premier League TV deal would result in clubs making big-money non-English signings. He felt the deal would restrict the number of available English players that he could select. However, as we all know, any strict quota would fail the ‘restraint of trade’ test. So, given Platini’s success in implementing a soft ‘salary cap’, is there an alternative approach to a quota system that would deliver the same results?
This brings me onto my own ‘crack-pot’ idea which was formulated some time ago during an evening in the pub. Not a promising start, but rather than leave it on the hard-drive, I thought it worth a wider audience.
The idea is as follows:
Brits for Six© Scheme
Under the Brits for Six scheme, Premiership teams would be free to play players of any nation but have the possibility to receive bonus points. The bonus points would be awarded if they meet the required criteria for playing players who are eligible to represent the one of the Home Nations countries.
Teams would receive a maximum 6 bonus points during a season if they start a required number of games with 6 or more players who are qualified to play for a country in the British Isles.
How it would work?
For the purposes of the bonus points only, the season is split into 4 sections.
Section 1: Games 1-10; 2 bonus points available
Section 2: Games 11-20; 2 bonus points available
Section 3: Games 21 to 30; 2 bonus points available
Section 4: Games 31 to 38; no bonus points available
The bonus points would be applied immediately after Game 10, Game 20 and Game 30.
Qualifying for the bonus points
To receive the bonus points, the club will need to start 6 or more games within a 10-game Section with 6 or more qualifying players. N.B. A qualifying player is one that is eligible to represent any of the Home Nation countries.
Teams need to start the required number of games with the required number of qualifying players to be eligible for the points - teams are able to substitute a qualifying player during a game without affecting their eligibility for the bonus points.
Only two bonus points are available during any 10 game section – it is not possible to be awarded 1 point (i.e. clubs receive either 2 points or zero points during a Section). The maximum total bonus points a team can win over the season is 6.
Clubs do not have to aim to achieve any bonus points and would be free to field an entire team of non-qualifying players if they wish (although they would not qualify for the bonus points).
I suspect the idea may well struggle to pass the key ‘restraint of trade’ test. An overseas player would have less opportunity to earn appearance bonuses that their Home Nations colleagues. Even if that issue could be overcome would UEFA be happy to accept teams into the Champions League based partially on points awarded for fielding British players ahead of those from other nations? The idea might need to be downgraded to award bonus points for English players only (rather than British players).
Although the idea is probably best left in the ‘unfeasible’ file, it does raise the question of whether there is another way to achieve the goal of a higher representation of English players within the Premier League.
However if Mr Scudamore wishes to consider Brits for Six (or a variation), he is more than welcome, and now knows where to send the cheque.
blog comments powered by Disqus