LUFC Loan & Homegrown Players

Make up of EFL Championship Squads.

NOTE: This article has been editted to reduce the number of Homegrown players required from eight to seven. When I researched the essay I relied on an article that said the EFL had very recently agreed to change from 7 to 8 hoemgrown players. This article has now been deleted and I can find no supporting evidence, therefore I have reverted to the previous number of seven.

I’ve seen some discussion on Twitter today about the number of loans and foreign players that Leeds United can take on and was asked my view. Some of the answers given by others seemed to have got the EPL requirements mixed in and so I thought I’d have a go at explaining how I see it.

I’m going to go through the recruitment of players by the Club to give contracts to first and then explain the match day requirements of the team sheet in the second half of the essay.

Club Consideration – foreign players
Unlike the EPL Championship clubs can register as many 1st team players as they like. They can also register as many U23 players as they like.

The EPL makes each Club declare a squad of 25 players at the start of the season and again during the mid-season transfer window. The EFL does NOT do this.

Football clubs are subject to the same EU laws as any other company and they struggle to put restrictions on the number of foreign players, just like any other employer. There is no limit within the EPL fixed-sized squad or the EFL squads for how many or how few foreign players a club can register on it’s books as employees.

Some EPL clubs register a huge number of players on standard or loan contracts and then do not put them on their 25 man squad list. The EFL has no squad size restriction.

Club Consideration – loan players
There are no restrictions on the total number of loan players that a Championship club can register at any one time.

In the same way, there are no restrictions on the number of International loans that a Championship club can register.

Club Consideration – so it’s a free-for-all?
Yes, at the club level it is. Employment laws and so forth must be followed by football clubs and to limit employment through race, gender, nationality etc. is forbidden within football just as it is within the wider employment scene.

But I’ve heard of restrictions
The crucial word within my previous paragraph is “employment”. Clubs cannot discriminate when employing people and the FA and EFL cannot enforce such rules, even if they thought it might help the national team.

What the FA and EFL can do is lay down rules of a sport and let the clubs select the best suited players from their squads for match day teams.

So let’s look at these Match Day requirements
A Championship club can present up to 18 players on the match day team sheet.

In days gone by there was complete freedom for a coach in selecting his match day team but that is being eroded and the rules have been getting tighter in past seasons.

The rules have got tighter again for next season and a coach must now ensure that he meets certain conditions or he will not be allowed to put a full 18 names on the sheet.

I’m going to go through these requirements as if selecting a team based on these requirements but, of course, a real coach would start with his best players.

Club Developed Player
Every Championship club must now include one Club Developed Player on the team sheet.

A Club Developed Player is defined as a player who joined Leeds United before the start of the season where he turned 19 years old. He cannot count as a Club Developed Player unless he joined us by, or before, that date AND has got a year training by us under his belt.

For clarity, this would include an 18 year old lad joining us on a professional contract and spending one year training with the U18 or U23 squad. The next season he would qualify as a Club Developed Player for inclusion in the match team sheet.

So that’s one of the 18 team sheet players chosen.

Home Grown Players
This requirement has been around for a while but has got stiffer for the next season.

Every Championship club must now put SEVEN Home Grown Players on the team sheet.

A Home Grown Player is someone who has spent at least three complete seasons registered with a football club affiliated to the FA or the Welsh FA before the season that he turns 22 years old.

This has nothing to do with nationality, race or anything remotely like that. It just covers players who have arrived in England or Wales from anywhere in the world and got themselves registered at a club. They must have been registered for three seasons but they can swap clubs and even have a season off providing they have three seasons registered before the season when they are 22 years old.

Of course, once a player has done his English or Welsh training to become a Home Grown Player then he will always be qualified as one. In this way many older players will be Home Grown, not just those in the youth system.

If the Club Developed Player on the team sheet also qualifies as a Home Grown Player then the number of Home Grown Players is reduced to SIX plus the Club Developed Player.

That’s Seven or Eight players!
Yes, that has put seven or eight players on the team sheet just to comply with the new regulations.

So what of the remaining nine players?
Well the coach still cannot pick who he wants from the rest of the registered squad employed by the Club.

Loan Player Restrictions
The coach can only pick up to FIVE players on a loan contract in his match day team sheet.

Of course, he can pick fewer.

Again, the Club may have registered many more loan players that form the pot that he selects from but the maximum he can pick is only FIVE – this includes a goalkeeper registered on an Emergency Loan Contract outside the normal transfer window.

Any Exceptions?
Yes, of course. Nothing from EFL regulations is simple.

Selling Club Developed Players
Leeds United could sell TWO Club Developed Players to another Championship club or an EPL club in the January transfer window and that would remove the requirement to name any Club Developed Players for the rest of the season.

Anything Else?
Probably but my eyes have worn out my Specsavers’ specials reading EFL regulations!

It is a complex task that Victor Orta and any coach face in balancing our first team squad recruitment.

Injuries and suspensions may mean a small squad cannot meet the regulations and we have to name fewer than seven substitutes. A large squad costs loads-a-money and tends to be lower quality.

Loan players may be the flavour of the week in fans’ minds due to lack of transfer fee but a backbone of purchased players and established youth is a must.

Interesting summer ahead.

Mike Thornton 3rd June 2018