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Sports

Over sixty home grown players in four matches

Over sixty home grown players were used this week by local clubs in just four league matches played
in the newly restructured National League.
The football season started in earnest with last season’s second division sides playing alongside last
season’s first division after the two were merged.
Although the new concept for the league has been met with some criticism especially from some of
the top clubs, the newly reformed structure has heralded a week in which there has been a
significant increase in the use of home-grown players. Much of which has been welcomed by
officials and fans who have been calling for more locals to be used.
New home-grown player rules had already ensured that clubs would not play with less than four
home grown players on the field for each team. Whilst the rule was used by many clubs in previous
season to draw a line on how many local players they would play, many sticking to the minimum
number, this season has seen a dramatic change in which the rule has only been used by a couple of
clubs. Many opting to play more local players and invest less in foreign based players with there
being no urgent need to play for survival.
The fact the league no longer provides a risk of relegation has meant that some clubs have been
more than willing to embrace a home-grown player development policy. Officials at some clubs have
indicated that they would rather invest time in developing youth talent even if this meant lowering
the standard of the league. The clubs, knowing that they will not be able to compete against the top
teams without having to invest heavily have instead been looking at recruiting local players into their
squads.
This week alone the league has seen Manchester 62 field a fully local home-grown player team,
whilst Glacis United fielded a U23 squad. Similarly, clubs such as Mons Calpe, Lynx and Bruno
Magpies have based their squads around a core number of home-grown players forming the spine of
their teams. Something which has in the past not been seen locally.
The increase in home grown player numbers has been welcomed by football officials, especially the
Technical committee who have welcomed the increased number. Desi Curry highlighting that some
of the players now playing include players from the youth national teams who had little senior team
experience.
The league still had Lincoln Red Imps, Europa, St Joseph, Olymique and College 1975 to play. With
the new rules on HGP numbers on the field the first round of matches will therefore reach over 80
once all matches are completed.