Following on from Aylesburyblue’s excellent article, we have a new guest contributor who has written the following article:
With the continued speculation of Craig Gardner joining Sunderland and the uproar over his disloyalty to the club which he supports, I thought about loyalty in football and whether there was any way that this could be brought back into the game. I was reading about the new financial fair play rules that are set to be introduced to football over the next few years (and has just been agreed to be implemented by the football league clubs) and I had an idea.
Under the new rules (Article 58 of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations if you are interested), clubs have to break even but there are a number of items of expenditure that do not count towards the break even analysis. One of these is expenditure on youth teams and the academy. This is obviously to promote the development of young players and is a very understandable measure. However, as we all know, as soon as a player shows any kind of promise they are whisked off to a bigger club (generally without adequate compensation to the club) on much more money but then, quite often, drop out of the game or down the leagues as they do not get the game time they would need to develop into the player their potential merits.
My suggestion is that this element of the rules should go one step further. Not only should expenditure on the academy be excluded in the financial fair play break even calculations but, if you have held the registration of the player from the academy (say from the age of 16 or 18), then any future wages that you pay him should also be exempt.
As an example, the wages of players such as Steven Gerrard (or Nathan Redmond for a blues example) would not be included in their clubs calculation and so free up money that can be spent elsewhere to improve the team.
In my opinion, not only would this encourage clubs to keep home grown talent but it would also incentivise young players to stay at their home town club. This is because, if they are successful, they should be able to earn more money in the long run as the club would be able to offer them more without it affecting their fair play financial position. Because of the financial muscle of the biggest clubs, it will not, of course, affect the very best players who will still be snapped up but maybe it will at least lead players to think a bit longer about moving from their home team.
You never know, we may get a bit of genuine loyalty back in the game.
(Note: Before anyone pulls me up on it I know that these would not help in the case of Gardner. His current conduct was just the genesis of my article.)