The English FA have announced they will be reviewing the loan system currently in place across the Football League. This report comes after increasing criticism of how Watford have managed to gain 9 players on loan from parent clubs Udinese (Italy) and Granada (Spain).
The reason Watford have managed to get this amount of players from the representative clubs is that they are now under the control of the Pozzo family, who also own Udinese and Granada. Furthermore, the English Championship side have 2 more players on loan in their squad: Nathaniel Chalobah from Premiership Chelsea and Geoffrey Bia From Belgium’s Standard Liege.
7 of the players on loan to Watford’s have also been capped by their countries, including Alem Abidi of Sweden, Joel Ekstrand of Sweden, Bia of Belgium, Marco Cassetti and Christian Battocchio of Italy, and 2 impressive Czech internationals Matej Vydra and Daniel Pudil.
Currently, there is no limit to the amount of players that can be loaned to a Football League club, but only 5 of the loans can be included on the match day squad unless they are internationally capped, and Watford are using these rules to include the capped players in their squad.
Crystal Palace manager Ian Hollyway has been especially critical of the loan system in the last couple of weeks, saying:
“I need foreign scouts, or to befriend a big club like they have and to nick all their players. They’ve got nine from one club! It’s a loophole and that’s wrong.”
Other people in the English game have filed suit and questioned the Football League’s reluctance to intervene thus far. They have stated that’s its stumping the development of young English players as well as giving certain squad a huge advantage over the other Championship clubs that are not in a position to have the same quality of players available.
With this in mind, the announcement of the Football League’s review will be welcome by most, and is set be made this summer at the end of the season. League clubs will be voting on the issue at an annual general meeting, which quite possibly will be a proposal for internationally capped loan players to have the same restrictions as the standard loans, as well as the issue of players being brought in on free transfers and passing rules that clubs must receive at least half of transfer fees rather than it going to previous clubs or agents.
For people unfamiliar with Watford’s progress this season, they currently stand in 3rd in the Championship with 37 games played, 2 points behind 2nd placed Hull City and 6 behind the leaders Cardiff City. Cardiff have two loan players that made a significant impact to the squad’s successes this season, most notably Matej Vydra, who has 20 goals in 20 starts and is a 3rd place top scorer in their squad, while Almen Abdi has 9 goals in 27 starts from the midfield.
There is no doubt Watford have gained an advantage by exploiting the loan rules this season, but to be fair, they have done it without breaking any rules and have produced some entertaining football, as well as showcasing players we may not have seen in the English Leagues otherwise. In fact, if they do get promoted to the Premier League, the majority of these loans are likely to become permanent deals, so we may be seeing and hearing a lot more from Watford and these exciting players in the future!
Written by ChalkOnYaBoots