Eagles chairman backs Sam Allardyce’s claims that more homegrown talent will now start emerging
CRYSTAL PALACE chairman Steve Parish believes Brexit will allow Premier League sides to flood their academies with local talent.
Non-European Union citizens have to apply for a work permit while Fifa regulations ban, barring a few strict exceptions as moves within the EU the transfer of under-18s from one country to the other.
Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique are notable examples of players who joined English clubs as adolescents under European Economic Area rules.
And discussing the rule, Parish said at the launch of the revamped Palace for Life Foundation: “At the moment you can’t stop anyone from anywhere in the EU coming and joining an academy, and Fifa rules are that you can’t sign anyone from another country unless they are 18.
“You’ve got a big problem. You’ve got the homegrown player rule which is meant to protect the England team.
“So in a few years’ time we’re faced with the prospect of having a team with eight homegrown players, none of whom qualify to play for the home nations. But because of Brexit, in theory that will change.”
Eagles chief Sam Allardyce has also asked for a rule change to prevent the Premier League’s top six cherry picking the best young players from smaller sides before they sign pro.
He said: “Alright, if the time comes along where the big club comes along and takes him away, but take him away when he is ready.
“The limelight just drags them away from here to Manchester City or Manchester United, but then how many of them come through because they get lost?
“If they stay in the football club, and this is across the country, they will get in the first team quicker and get to the top if they are good enough that way, and it is a much better way of going to the top.”
Tottenham’s Dele Alli, who made 88 appearances for MK Dons before switching to Spurs in 2015, is an exemplary case in the argument that youngsters should continue their development by playing competitively.
EK Athletics chief Ed Warner is the chair of the Palace for Life charity.
The Premier League provides just under half of the charity’s funding, and though Palace have not fully fully ended their worries of relegation this campaign, the chief is confident the league’s support will continue regardless.
“They see this club as absolutely integral to what they are trying to do nationwide. That’s for all 92 clubs. They need to support us, we want their support, because this is an area which has got loads of challenges, lots of deprivation, loads of opportunity and that’s an important partnership,” said Warner.
Croydon-born Jason Puncheon and Wilfried Zaha starred in Palace’s 3-0 win over Arsenal on Monday, and the pair have been heavily involved in the foundation’s programmes.
“There’s a picture painted of the modern Premier League player, that as a generalisation just isn’t true,” said Parish.
He continued: “They give their time up really willingly and of course they get touched, they’re human beings.
“People like Wilfried and Punch [Puncheon] that are born and brought up round here, they’re from the same streets and the same problems and the same backgrounds of all the kids that they’re inspiring.”