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UEFA’s plans to boost the numberof home-grown footballers playing domestic leagues, has some way to go go before being incorporated into law, the organisatiin has confirmed.

UEFA is looking at ways to restrict the number of overseas players, as a means of encouraging the development of home-grown talent. It has been suggested that they are keen for introduction of legislation which will compel clubs to field a certain number of home-grown players.

The Uefa technical director Andy Roxburgh, speaking at a seminar for coaches and teachers in Ipswich yesterday, admitted that there were limits on the restrictions available to UEFA.

“We cannot by European law prevent clubs from playing a certain amount of players from abroad but we are looking at implementing a rule whereby 50% of a team on the pitch has to be home-grown,” he said.

“That means they will have to come through the club’s own academy-youth system.

“That would ensure young talent, for example in England, would be allowed to flourish and that in turn would also help countries develop their national teams.

“Coaches like Marcello Lippi at Juventus, for example, endeavour to ensure that at least half his team comes from the local region in Italy.”

UEFA communications director Mike Lee added: ‘This is not about introducing restrictions based on nationality because we don’t think that is possible under EU law, nor is it something that will happen in the short-term.

‘We do believe that encouragement and incentives should be given for the development of young players at club level.

‘The new club licensing system will help but there also needs to be a discussion within football and the EU about an agreed number of young players who have come through the ranks being available in the first-team squad.’

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