To read this content please select one of the options below:

Youth academy player development in English football: The impact of regulation since 2006

Steve Bullough (Sport Industry Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK)
James Jordan (St John’s Episcopal School, Rancho Santa Margarita, California, USA)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 11 September 2017




From the 2006-2007 season, Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) introduced regulation into European football by imposing “home-grown” quotas on clubs. The purpose of this paper is to remedy partial market failure by influencing issues in the game, namely reducing opportunities for “local” players and stockpiling players. Rule changes have amplified the importance of developing “home-grown” players; however, the UEFA rule is not limited by nationality, which is an inhibiting factor.


The sample used was the ten seasons from the introduction of the legislation (2006-2007 to 2015-2016). The results quantify English player production in these ten seasons, focusing on outputs (number of players, top-flight playing statistics, academy attended, club played for, age and international experience). Clubs are also categorised and analysed by the number of seasons played.


A total of 369 English players have debuted since 2006-2007, although only 141 developed through the eight “category 1” (ever-present) clubs. A high proportion of players are developing at elite clubs but having limited playing time and subsequently transferring to lower ranked clubs. The clubs promoted to the English Premier League (EPL) each season have introduced more English players into the EPL (167) than “category 1” clubs (112), and these clubs account for a minority of minutes played by new entrants (13 per cent). Furthermore, clubs outside the EPL are producing a significant number of English players, including those progressing to the national team.


Competing organisational purposes between the EPL, the FA and professional clubs have combined to create a complex environment and options for the future are discussed.



Bullough, S. and Jordan, J. (2017), "Youth academy player development in English football: The impact of regulation since 2006", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 375-392.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles