The Football Association are examining the legal feasibility of limiting the numbers of foreign players in English football, BT Sport can exclusively reveal.
As FA Chairman Greg Dyke assembles his high-powered ‘commission’ into drawing up a blueprint of how to ensure more world-class English players are available to manager Roy Hodgson, quotas are top of the agenda.
Hodgson is about to announce his latest England squad for the vital World Cup run-in against Montenegro and Poland at Wembley and is already shorn of so many injured stars that his selection will once again open the debate about the lack of talent available to him.
Dyke will be seeking Premier League support, but already the Premier League have rejected the invitation to sit on the FA Commission into the England team, a clear indication that the introduction of quotas will require a diplomatic trade-off with the Premier League as well as legal backing for such a contentious issue.
Premier League clubs are calling on the FA to change their rules to allow feeder clubs in the lower divisions, with Arsene Wenger showing interest in Barnet and Everton’s Roberto Martinez supporting the plan, along with West Ham chairman David Sullivan, who suggests feeder clubs cannot be promoted to the Premier League.
It has been generally assumed that quotas cannot be introduced because of European Union rules, but there are already quotas in the Champions League and also in English football. But straight quotas of English-only players would need a sound legal argument to push it through as a rule change in English football.
Already the FA have significant backing within football, with a number of influential ex-England players voicing their support for the move.
Steve Coppell, one of the most astute of football thinkers, is demanding a year-on-year quota - even starting with a minimum of one English player obliged to start every Premier League game, with the quota eventually building up to five.
Former England manager Glenn Hoddle supports Dyke’s belief that there are far too many foreign players in the Premier League seriously curtailing the progress of young, home-grown talent.
Hoddle has stressed how foreign owners bring in foreign managers, who subsequently bring in foreign players above English players, causing what Hoddle describes as a “downward spiral”.
The role of England manager has often been described as 'The Impossible Job' and Hoddle believes that will only get harder until a rule change comes into effect.
Hoddle is today launching his Zapstarz project, a search for a new generation of new young football stars, at Planet Hollywood in central London. His ultimate aim is to unearth a new gem for the 2022 World Cup, a tournament Dyke has publically earmarked for success.
Hoddle said: “I am really committed to improving our young players. Nothing will give me greater pleasure than thinking I can play a part in the development of our next generation of footballers.”
England and Arsenal icon Tony Adams has called for Hoddle to rejoin the England/FA fold, and he believes that the current trend will grow to such an extent that by next season only 25 per cent of the players in the Premier League will be English.
Dyke himself has warned the level could even drop to as low as 10 per cent when England are then in danger of becoming a second class international power, if they are not already.
The view that there are too many foreign players in the English game is even shared by one of English football's most successful foreign imports.
If you win something with 11 foreigners, well... I don't see the point."
BT Sport pundit David Ginola played Premier League football for seven years with Newcastle, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Everton - and believes English football should return to the pre-Bosman rules that ensured teams maintained a core of English players.
When asked about the number of foreign players currently in English football, Ginola told The Clare Balding Show: "There's too many.
"If you think about the academies around England and all the young talent who really want to be footballers, they don't have many chances to get to the top.
"Clubs are concentrating their money on signing foreign players and I think it's too much."
Ginola stated that he believes English clubs should have "at least seven or eight English players" on the pitch, and said it would help create an additional feel-good factor around the clubs when they achieve success with home-grown players.
"When you win the league or with a cup and you've got eight English players, you're proud about it," Ginola explained.
"If you win something with 11 foreigners, well... I don't see the point."