The views in these blogs are those held by the individual blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton Football Club.
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As promised, I sought the support of our fellow Premier League clubs last week to change the allocation of FA Cup final tickets for future finals.
I’m pleased to report that all clubs agreed that the allocation is inadequate and unjust and all backed a formal approach to the FA via the Premier League’s Cup Committee.
The FA was in attendance and clearly understood not just our feelings but the view of the entire room and whilst one of the clubs, perhaps cynically or, unfortunately, perhaps based on experience whispered ‘good luck’, I’ll continue to lead the fight for change. I think a two-thirds allocation to the participating teams is achievable and I’ll keep pressing on behalf of all future Cup final fans.
Premier League meetings are scheduled bi-monthly but the summer meeting is a two day affair to consider rule changes and key issues of the day. This year, most of the meeting covered youth development and the need for the Premier League to fall in line with UEFA quotas on the proportion of home grown players in squads.
I have to say, I’m very much opposed to quotas and believe the Club operates a very good Academy which develops young, talented footballers with a clear pathway into first team football. This process costs us a lot of money but it’s money well spent and I don’t think we should be influenced or governed by quotas, purporting to improve the national team, but with very little in the way of evidence to suggest they work.
Our national team’s FIFA ranking is as high as it has been for many years and whilst I know it’s easy to be complacent or have our ‘heads in the sand’, I think the Premier League is in good shape.
On a similar subject, we debated lifting the ‘drive time’ rule where Academy boys can only be recruited within a 90 minute travel time. Some of the smaller clubs were keen to retain this rule to ‘protect’ their young players from the cheque books of the ‘big boys’.
My view is the best way to protect your young players is to build and manage a great Academy and offer plenty of opportunity to progress into senior ranks. In those circumstances, talented young footballers won’t want to leave. I spent a few years working in Rugby League and the game fell foul of heavy handed regulation which was regularly disputed and challenged, often measured the wrong things and always took time and resource to implement and check.
However, I do recognise that like it or not politics plays a role in our sport and much as we’d like to run our Club as we wish and our League based on ‘free market’ principles, it’s not always possible and not always advisable.
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