Evaluating the efficacy of UEFA's home-grown rule in European football
Professional football epitomises a truly globalised industry, with significant investment and attention afforded to the elite game, particularly in Europe which is the financial epicentre. There has been a significant increase in the migration of players from across the world following the 1995 Bosman ruling and subsequent relaxing of quotas. This resulted in legislation and regulations being introduced in Europe through UEFA, the governing body, to protect the development of home-grown
... without contravening the EU Commission's freedom of movement laws. This programme of research investigates the efficacy of UEFA's intervention by quantifying the way clubs (and National Associations) responded to the rule and assesses the design of the regulations using programme theory. The research focusses on quantitative analysis and utilises a combination of secondary data sources to collect statistics across six European countries (England, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain). The findings outline the clear differences in the volume and 'quality' of playing opportunities for home-grown players between nations. These differences are visible between club types (size, wealth, success/standing) and different club cultures (e.g., philosoph y). The structural differences between nations (domestic leagues allowing second teams) also influences the process of transitioning young players and the volume of playing opportunities generated. UEFA's home -grown rule has not abated such differences. The construction and imposition of UEFA's home-grown regulations had a limited theory of change underpinning it and the design could be criticised for (1)focussing on outputs not the process and (2) not controlling dominant variables. The research has practical implications for UEFA in the future as the governing body charged with creating, designing, and implementing regulations to protect home-grown player opportunities. The recommendations outline the need to implement a clear theory of change for any future interventions by UEFA to better understand the relationship between inputs, actions, outputs, and outcomes.