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WORK PERMIT SHAMBLES: How the FA forcing likes of Chelsea, Man Utd to surrender to Euro rivals

COMMENT: LOCK THE GATE! Ban 'em. Restrict 'em. That's the attitude of the FA and their chairman Greg Dyke against Premier League imports.

Instead of ripping up the ridiculous arbitrary UK work permit laws, Dyke has chosen to increase the red-tape, up the regulations and make it even more difficult for English clubs to compete with their continental rivals.

For the moment, there's no going back. Dyke, the man from the BBC, has imposed his will on the Premier League.

The most popular competition in the world, where football's meritocracy is felt like no other, is now more so at the whim of those with the gate-keeper mentality. It's difficult to judge what's more frustrating - that the Premier League have allowed Dyke to have his way, or that his whole plan is based on the rankings of that wonderfully-run organisation, FIFA!

Because, it doesn't matter how good you are, if you're a player who doesn't hold the right passport or who isn't the right age, the gate will be shut on you. Players from countries ranked inside the top 50 of FIFA's standings will now only be considered for work permits.

Just think about that. The next George Weah of Liberia will never get close. Australia, the Asian champions, have just seen their rankings drop from 100 to 63. So no future Harry Kewell or Mark Viduka. And why are such rulings being based on a ranking system, devised by FIFA, which no-one can actually get their head around?

More so, why on earth would the UK government be siding with such a scheme? The amount of money lost from the UK economy because of work permit rulings made by ignorant, irresponsible panels would count in the hundreds of millions of pounds, perhaps topping even over billion.

All it will mean is Premier League clubs, forced to pass on young, non-European talent, having to shell out even greater sums to foreign rivals to bring the same players to England at an older age. And, whoosh, with it goes money English football will never see again.

Work permit rulings have always been the absolute definition of arbitrary. It's why we'd always hear about the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger speaking at a hearing to swing it in Manchester United's or Arsenal's favour. If it was all objective and cut-and-dried, Fergie would never have bothered getting the train down to London.

One of the worst cases in recent seasons was Chelsea's deal in 2012 for Oscar. The Blues coughed up £20 million to Internacional for the Brazilian - just six months after QPR had a £5 MILLION deal in place for the same player, only for it to be blocked by a work permit panel.

Not only was it an example of playing favourites with the big boys, but in one 'foul' swoop, English football lost £15 million thanks to the individuals working on that original QPR hearing.

Dyke says he wants to help bring through more English talent. But instead of taking up the baton of competition, y'know what the spirit of sport (like life) should be, he's gone the other way. More rules, more restrictions. If you can't compete with them, then ban 'em.

Southampton's academy has been celebrated over the past two years as the best in the land. They've had major clubs from across the world make fact-finding visits to study their methods. Yet the FA's 'think-tank', formed (and made up of unqualified special interest reps) to tackle the weaknesses in youth development never actually visited the Saints.

You'd think, in the spirit of doing right by English football, the FA would actually seek to tap into what makes the nation's most successful academy what it is. So why didn't it? Could it be resentment? A personality clash? Why?

Whatever the reasons, it's the same group which are now teaming up with FIFA and their rankings system to shut the gate on those aspiring footballers who don't fit what 'they' deem as the right type of player for English football.

The Premier League's success is no fluke. There's countless reasons why it's become the most popular competition in the world. Among them is the dream of a young lad playing football in Soweto, Seoul or Sydney, that he can make it in English football.

Those with the gatekeeper mentality don't deserve to have an influence on football's most popular league.


Wellington Silva: How the Arsenal hopeful suffered SHAMEFUL treatment by the FA

WORK PERMIT SHAMBLES (P2): Six of the Best - the millions UK economy loses with every ignorant ruling

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Chris Beattie
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