BLACKBURN Rovers and Burnley are likely to be two of the clubs least affected by new Premier League squad rules if they remain in the top flight next season.

Plans have been announced to restrict Premier League clubs to just 25 players aged 21 and over from the 2010/11 campaign.

Eight of the 25, irrespective of nationality, must have been registered with an English or Welsh club for at least three seasons between the ages of 16 and 21.

Squads, which must be confirmed at the end of every transfer window, can then be supplemented with an unlimited number of youth players. Next season, that will include all players under the age of 21 on January 1, 2010.

The new rules have been introduced in an attempt to encourage the development of young English and Welsh players rather than importing unlimited amounts of foreigners – something that the wealthier clubs in the division have often been more prone to do.

Rovers may have to cut their squad slightly, with 27 currently set to be regarded as senior players next season. But the rules can be circumvented by either loaning out or not registering players. One of the 27, forgotten striker Maceo Rigters, does not currently have a squad number.

Burnley are unlikely to be affected by the announcement.

A total of 24 of their current squad would be regarded as senior players, and many of those are out of contract before then.

The players brought through the youth systems of Scottish clubs will be regarded as foreign, but Scotland international Steven Caldwell will be classed as home-grown after starting his career at Newcastle.

“We think the rules could work to our advantage,” said Burnley chief executive Paul Fletcher.

“We are very much in favour of it. We are the club that brought in youth development. We have always tried to bring in local boys and English boys, whereas you see some bringing in players from Russia, Japan and India.

“There’s nothing racist about it when I say that, but we need players to come through for the England team.

“The rules will be something we have to think about when we’re recruiting but if there’s a choice between identical players – one English and one who’s not – we’re going to go for the English player.

“We hope this is just the first step. It’s eight ‘home-grown’ players now but hopefully it will go up to 10 the year afterwards.”


Home-grown players aged 21 or over next season: Paul Robinson, David Dunn*, Jason Roberts, Steven Reid*, Keith Andrews, Martin Olsson, Keith Treacy, Alan Judge, Jason Brown, Frank Fielding*, Mark Bunn.

Total: 11.

Overseas players aged 21 or over next season: Lars Jacobsen, Chris Samba, Gael Givet, Ryan Nelsen, Brett Emerton, Benni McCarthy, Vince Grella, Morten Gamst Pedersen*, Zurab Khizanishvili, Steven Nzonzi, El-Hadji Diouf, Elrio van Heerden, Nikola Kalinic, Michel Salgado, Pascal Chimbonda, Maceo Rigters.

Total: 16.

Players under 21 next season: Franco Di Santo*, Aaron Doran, Junior Hoilett*, Phil Jones, Nick Blackman, Gavin Gunning, Alex Marrow.

* out of contract before rules come into force


Home-grown players aged 21 or over next season: Graham Alexander*, Michael Duff*, Clarke Carlisle*, Steven Caldwell*, Martin Paterson, Wade Elliott, Tyrone Mears, David Edgar, Chris McCann, Robbie Blake*, Stephen Jordan*, Chris Eagles, David Nugent*.

Total: 13.

Overseas players aged 21 or over next season: Diego Penny, Christian Kalvenes*, Kevin McDonald, Joey Gudjonsson*, Steven Fletcher, Brian Jensen*, Brian Easton, Remco van der Schaaf, Steven Thompson*, Fernando Guerrero*, Andre Bikey.

Total: 11.

Players under 21 next season: Jay Rodriguez, Richard Eckersley, Alex MacDonald, Adam Kay*, Wes Fletcher*, Chris Anderson*, Alex-Ray Harvey*, Chris Lynch*, Nik Kudiersky*, Ben Hoskin*.

* out of contract before rules come into force