New English Premier League rules intended to reduce roster sizes (and presumably salary budgets) and promote "homegrown" players (and reduce transfer expenditures) have big clubs scrambling to sell or loan out players by the Aug. 31 transfer deadline or be forced to pay them without being able to use them.
The EPL's new 25-player rule, which will take effect Sept. 1, means that teams can only select players from a list of no more than 25 senior players -- and that's assuming at least eight of them are "homegrown" (three or more years with an English or Welsh professional club before they reached the age of 21). If a manager wants to use other players, they must be under-21.
The effect of the rules? Clubs may keep injured players off their senior rosters through Dec. 31 for fear that they will otherwise waste one of the 25 roster spots. (Roster moves can be made again during the January 2011 transfer window.) Clubs with huge rosters -- Manchester City currently has 33 senior players -- have little more than a month to unload excess players.
The rules should make big English clubs less included to import players -- as an example, American Landon Donovan -- and turn the transfer market into more of a buyer's market than it already is because of the financial pressures on several big clubs.
Warned one EPL manager, "For years, the top boys have been able to keep lots of players happy by giving them big money and keep changing the team. But what's it going to do to morale behind the scenes when suddenly two or three are told they have no chance of even lacing a pair of boots up on matchday?"