Football League clubs are fined for playing youngsters while Premier League clubs can play veterans in their “academy” sides. OVF thinks the whole situation is ludicrous…
Here’s a simple question… what’s better for the future of the English national football team?
- A Luton Town side containing nine graduates of the youth team who played so well that they beat two sides from higher divisions?
- A Stoke City “academy” side containing two Spanish players Marc Muniesa, 24, and Bojan, 26, a Belgian, Giannelli Imbula, 24, plus veteran striker Peter Crouch, now 35?
Well, in the eyes of the blinkered Football League, there’s only one offender. They have fined Luton the maximum amount of £15,000 for their “transgression” in breaking EFL Trophy rules.
The rules themselves are patently bonkers. Lower league teams had to field five players who started the previous or following game (even if the replacements are promising youngsters) while the “academy” sides are allowed to field up to five over-age players.
The Luton Town chief executive Gary Sweet has highlighted the ludicrous decision better than we can hope to do, so we’ll quote his reaction in full.
Sweet told the BBC: “We entered those teams with our eyes wide open and we accept that we would be fined for doing so.
“We are staggered, however, that we have been fined the maximum amount for our first offence, which was winning away from home at a club from the division above with half-a-dozen first-team regulars in their team.
“We played nine graduates of our academy in that game at Gillingham, and seven against a West Brom side containing four players, two of whom who were internationals and had been transferred for several million pounds, and still beat both.”
After reading Sweet’s reaction, you’d think Luton would be praised for putting their faith in youth, but instead, they now face a hefty financial fine.
It’s this website’s view that the Football League has lost the plot.