5 Sep 2013

EPL must change or England will suffer: FA boss

10:18 am on 5 September 2013

The new head of English football has painted a potentially bleak future for the country's national team, unless the spiralling influence of foreign players in the Premier League can be curtailed.

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke chose this international week to announce he's setting up a commission to investigate the decline of the number of English players in what he calls "the most successful league in the world".

While stressing that he's not blaming the Premier League for the ills affecting the game, Dyke says it's quite possible in the future that the country won't have enough players qualified to play for England who are playing regularly at the highest level in that country, or elsewhere in the world.

As a result, it could well mean England's teams are unable to compete seriously on the world stage.

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

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

He says none of the people involved back then could have foreseen the very success of the Premier League would mean ending up with a league largely owned by foreign owners, managed by foreign managers and played by foreign players, which has weakened the England set-up rather than strengthened it.

Dyke says England should aim to win the World Cup in 2022 and at least reach the semi-finals of Euro 2020.

The new commission, which will meet for the first time this month and report early next year, will ask why England are in this situation, what could be done and how any changes can be implemented.

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

England have only won the World Cup once, on home soil, in 1966 and have not reached the semi-finals since 1990.

Dyke says the number of English under-21 players competing in the Premier League dropped to its lowest level last season, while in June, the England juniors lost all their three group games in the European Championship in Israel.

English players in the starting line-ups of Premier League clubs was 69 percent in the 1992-93 season. Ten years later that figure was down to 38 percent and last season the same figure was down to 32 percent.