Foreign Players in the Premier League and Transfer Regulations

The Premier League or the English Premier League is one of the widely successful football competitions in Europe and the world. Its participant clubs (form UK) enjoy an almost fanatic fan following and support around the world. The television viewership and the actual attendance for the Premier league games is almost 100 per cent. The popularity of the League games is evident in the close watch kept by its follower on its happenings, specially the player transfers among the several league clubs as well from other UEFA clubs. The number of foreign players playing in the Premier League has also increased dramatically since its founding.

During the inaugural game in 1992, the number of foreign players in all the clubs combined was only 11. This started changing rapidly as the popularity of the League catapulted by its success in becoming one of the foremost football leagues in the European Union. An important event signifying the value of foreign players in the League was the introduction of an all-foreign starting lineup in December 1999 of the Chelsea FC and later by the all foreign 16-man squad of the Arsenal FC in February 2005.

The number of professional foreign players increased from an average 36 per cent in the 2000 to almost more than 60 percent in the 2009-10 season of the Premier League. The popularity of foreign players among the managers of the European FCs was initialized by the affordability of the foreign profession footballers. This trend started affecting the local talent pool of England negatively and more so the young talent. As a result the Football Association laid some ground rules while accepting the international players, one is that the average FIFA rankings of the player must average to about 70 over a span of 2 successive years immediately prior to consideration.

All the player transfers, inter-club or international, are to be done within the transfer window in a particular duration before a new season. The transfer regulations for such transfers in the Premier league are outlined and overseen by the Football Association of England (AF) and the Federation of International Association Football (FIFA). All the foreign players (professional footballers not eligible for a place in the national teams of England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) must be registered as the playing staff of a club through the intermediacy of FIFA.

During the 2010 season of the Premier League the FA modified some of the transfer rules that defined the maximum strength of a squad to 25, with every player over the age of 21. Additionally, of these 25 places, a minimum of 8 places are to be filled with home-grown players.

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