Wenger unimpressed by new quota system

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger tonight rejected the Premier League’s new rules on home-grown players as “artificial”.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger tonight rejected the Premier League’s new rules on home-grown players as “artificial”.

The 20 English top-flight clubs have agreed to name 25-man squads with at least eight players ’home-grown’ – trained for three years under the age of 21 in England or Wales.

There will also be an annual financial test to prove clubs can repay their debts.

Gunners boss Wenger, however, dismissed the notion that introducing limits on the number of youngsters would improve the current state of the game.

Arsenal have a strong academy development programme, which takes in the cream of talent from around the globe, bringing though the likes of current captain Cesc Fabregas and full-back Gael Clichy.

Speaking in Belgium ahead of tomorrow night’s Champions League Group H opener against Standard Liege, Wenger declared: “I am not in favour of it, and I said that many times.

“I feel that when you want to see the best players in the best league in the world, you have to be open.

“To accept competition – and we live for competition – it is not to accept artificial rules and that is why I am against it.”

Wenger’s stance is in contradiction to the UK's Minister for Sport Gerry Sutcliffe, who welcomed the moves by the Premier League as being good for the long-term health of football.

“These moves will encourage clubs to develop and bring through young talent and help ensure clubs are financially stable,” Sutcliffe said.

“Clubs that do not pass the test may find themselves blocked by the Premier League from making new signings and have to agree a new budget.”

Sutcliffe added: “I am pleased the Premier League intend to impose tough sanctions on clubs that take big financial risks that could threaten their future.

“Clubs must be sustainable for the long-term health of the game in this country.”

Government ministers would like the Premier League to go even further, but view yesterday’s announcement as a big step in the right direction.

The Premier League however have opposed UEFA president Michel Platini’s plan that clubs should only be allowed to spend what they earn.

League chief executive Richard Scudamore said: “At our club meeting last week, the clubs absolutely endorsed our position of not linking expenditure to income.”

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