Scudamore focused on player quality
Published 24/05/2015 | 11:46
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore insists he is "not at odds" with the Football Association on the objective of increasing the number of English players in the top flight, but reiterated his opposition to a quota-based system.
FA chairman Greg Dyke has published plans to increase the number of homegrown players in Premier League squads from eight to 12, but Scudamore insisted the league's own existing policies were already bearing fruit and should be allowed to continue.
"We want more homegrown players in Premier League squads, so we're not at odds with that," Scudamore said on BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek. "But the way to do it in our view is with investment in youth development on qualitative basis, not necessarily on quotas and rules.
"We do have our own rules but the progress we're making in youth development, the enormous strides in quality of our investment and development program, the Elite Player Performance Plan, will ultimately come through."
Scudamore said 180 England-qualified players have played in the top flight this season, a 10 per cent increase on last year, which was itself a 7 per cent increase on the year before.
"We are seeing the trend and, if allowed to continue, I'm convinced we will see more players in our squads, and that work has got to be allowed to continue and come to fruition," he said.
Scudamore argued that focusing on the numbers was the wrong way to address the issue.
"You've got to get away from the raw numbers," he said. "It's about quality... Those percentages are going back up. We've reached the low point but those percentages are going up in terms of English-qualified players playing.
"Roy Hodgson has said himself he has a quality group of players from which to pick and that's what it's about - it's not just a numbers game.
"The Elite Player Performance Plan objective is to increase not just the number but the quality, so it's about producing more and better homegrown players. Better is just as important as more."
Scudamore insisted the league's approach would not be swayed by headlines on the issue.
"We know what we're doing," he said. "We made a huge commitment in youth areas going back to England-Croatia in 2007 when we didn't quality for the Euros.
"Something had to change. We're not going to be thrown off course. The work the academies are doing, the clubs are doing, the coaches...the quality of that work is exceptional.
"All through the business it pervades everything we do. We're not going to be thrown off by headlines."