U21 rule to be reviewed by SPL

The Scottish Premier League is to review the rule that states clubs must include at least three Under-21 players in every 18-man matchday squad.

The Scottish Premier League is to review the rule that states clubs must include at least three Under-21 players in every 18-man matchday squad.

The rule was introduced to encourage managers to give youth a chance but chief executive Neil Doncaster has hinted the system is not working.

Doncaster says some managers simply use their last three substitute options with youngster who in truth are never actually likely to feature in the game, while players over 21 can also miss out needlessly.

"We currently have a rule that ensures at least three outfield players of the 18-man match day squad must be under 21," he told theofficial website of the SPL.

"At the last meeting of the SPL managers, this rule was discussed at length. There are no doubt huge differences of views between the clubs.

"Some clubs sometimes use the three U21s as the last of the seven subs - almost as shirt fillers.

"Some managers felt strongly that the undeserved kudos and cash that came with unmerited first-team involvement created a comfort zone for young players.

"Some players subsequently struggled to deal with the hard knocks of the real world when they were loaned out or transferred to clubs in the lower leagues.

"As an alternative, some have suggested that a home-grown rule might be the better way to go. While others want no restrictions on who can, and who cannot, make up the matchday squad.

"This is something that we will be reviewing in the weeks ahead."