A dusty bandwagon that has been rolling along has recently had the accumulated dust shaken off it by a new person jumping on it. The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown has recently furthered his idea of “British jobs for British workers” by expressing his support of quotas in the Premiership [3]. It is a support offered in the belief that if imposed then the pool of home–grown talent would grow and the English national team would succeed.

This bandwagon was rolled out of the Geneva recently on suggestions by both the President of Uefa and the President of Fifa that the imposition of player quotas would be the best way to revive the talents of home grown players in the face of the influx of cheaper (and in most instances better) foreign imports. (Ed: I think we can all see where this is going). If imposed quotas would be nothing more than a protectionist measure against the failing market that is: the development of quality national football players.

If you examine recent transfer prices of those that are regularly in the English national team (and many who aren’t) you will find that they are exceedingly high, especially when compared to the talent that is available on the Continent. The simple reason for this is that good English players are in short supply (thus high prices), and with a global economy it now means that we can import English speaking foreigners cheaper, and they are usually better football players.

The burden of player quotas on English football would not improve the current situation. That will only be achieved if we allow our children to be free to choose sports at school, and we also allow parents to be free to coach and train them without the heavy hand of the state stopping them for fear of prosecution. Until we have large numbers of quality football players we shall continue to import. If this is stopped through protectionism then we can watch money drain from the game as can the Treasury from its coffers.