Fri, Sep 06, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Halt foreign influence in Premiership: Dyke

Reuters, LONDON

English soccer’s new head Greg Dyke has painted a potentially bleak future for the country’s national team unless the spiraling influence of foreign players in the Premier League can be curtailed.

In a wide-ranging speech, the English FA chairman on Wednesday said he was setting up a commission to probe the decline of the number of English players in “the most successful league in the world.”

However, he stressed that he was not blaming the Premier League for the ills affecting the game.

“The issue, quite simply, is this: In the future, it’s quite possible we won’t have enough players qualified to play for England who are playing regularly at the highest level in this country or elsewhere in the world,” he said.

The FA approved the creation of the Premier League, which began in 1992, because it was sold the idea that overseas players would improve the standard of English players.

Yet the opposite happened, said Dyke, who at the time was chairman of a TV company that helped bring the league into being.

“What none us could have foreseen was because of the very success of the Premier League we would end up with a league largely owned by foreign owners, managed by foreign managers and played by foreign players,” he said. “And that, as a result, the England set-up has been weakened rather than strengthened by the creation of the Premier League.”

Dyke, 66, who became FA chairman in July, said: “The England team does not have a history of success.

“One World Cup win on home soil and a few semi-finals does not compare with the records of Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Italy and more recently, Spain and France,” Dyke said. “However, just because we have not been as successful as we think we should have been in the past doesn’t mean we should accept the same going forward. England should aim to win the World Cup in 2022 and at least reach the semi-finals of Euro 2020.”

He said things had to change to give England any chance of ending decades of underachievement.

Dyke’s new commission, which will meet for the first time this month, will ask why England are in this situation, what be done and how changes can be implemented.

England’s sole World Cup was in 1966 and they have not reached the semi-finals since 1990.

The chairmen of the Premier League, Football League, Professional Footballers’ Association and League Managers’ Association have been invited onto the commission.

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