The homegrown rule for the 2022/23 Barclays WSL season is as follows:
8.10.1 Each Club in The FA WSL is required to register a minimum of eight Home Grown Players as part of their Squad Cap.
Here is the FA’s definition of the homegrown player:
Home Grown Player’ means: a Player who, irrespective of their nationality or age, has been registered with a Club and/or any other football club affiliated to the Football Association or an Affiliated Association, for a period, continuous or not of three Seasons or 36 months prior to their 21 birthday (or the end of the Season during which they turn 21). For the purposes of this definition of Home Grown Player only, a Season will be deemed to commence for all Clubs on the same date as the date on which the Summer Transfer Window in that Season closes for Clubs in the Leagues, and expire on the date of the final League Competition Match of the Season.
The definition of the squad cap is as follows
8.9 Squad Cap
8.9.1 A maximum of 25 Players (including Players on Long Term Loan) may be registered to play for a Club in the Competitions at any one time during a Playing Season (the “Squad Cap”).
8.9.2 Players on Long Term Loan to a transferee club do not count against the transfer or Club’s Squad Cap.
The contract players are the ones who are registered in the squad cap:
“Contract Player” means any football player who is eligible to play under a written contract of employment with a Club.
It means the Academy players who do not have a professional contract do not count in the squad cap. The only Academy player with a professional contract is Teyah Goldie and she therefore counts in the cap.
So how many homegrown players do Arsenal have registered on their list?
First, we have to say that we actually don’t know what players have been registered to the FA.
We only know as far as what is made public.
As of today, Arsenal have 23 players under professional contract in the squad cap, plus two players who are out on loan and do not count in the cap.
Let’s have a look at the players who actually match the definition of HGP as per the FA:
DF: Lotte Wubben-Moy (ENG), Jennifer Beattie ( SCO), Leah Williamson (ENG), Teyah Goldie (ENG). All three English players went through the Arsenal youth teams. Jennifer Beattie arrived aged 18 and left the club aged 21 and qualify having done her three years.
MF: Kim Little (SCO). Kim is also considered homegrown as she arrived at the club aged 18 and left the club aged 23.
FW: Bethany Mead (ENG). Beth Mead spent all her youth career at Sunderland and therefore qualifies for the homegrown rule.
We can conclude that Arsenal have currently six home grown players out of 23 in their squad cap.
Therefore, they are not compliant with the rule.
If we look at our eleven competitors, there is at least one other club in London that does not comply either.
This problem was raised with Jonas Eidevall by Tim Stillman during the press conference this week and his answer was : “If I am completely honest, I am aware of the rule but we have an organisation where we have other people with that as their responsibility.”
It has to be said that the Arsenal did not comply either back in 2018/19 when they won the League, but the FA still awarded the title to them.
Here was the squad list 2018/19.
We had a 20-player squad, academy players don’t count in the squad cap. According to rule 8.10.7, a team with 20 players should have had a minimum of ten home grown players and we had only five: Williamson, Nobbs, Little, Carter and Mead.
It is really up to the FA make sure they implement the rule properly and it will be interesting to see what if they will come up with a ruling soon on that matter. I don’t think it is a big ask for clubs to have about a third of their playing squad filled with homegrown players.
We all know there is a finite number of quality local players available, but clubs really should be able to find eight homegrown players with the required quality.
The Champions League regulations are different and Arsenal fully comply with them which is a good news:
Article 46.02 No club may have more than 25 players on List A during the season. As a minimum, four places are reserved exclusively for “locally-trained players” and no club may have more than two “association-trained players” listed in these four places on List A. List A must specify the players who qualify as being “locally trained”, as well as whether they are “club trained” or “association trained”. The possible combinations that enable clubs to comply with the List A requirements are set out in Annex H.
46.03 A “locally trained player” is either a “club-trained player” or an “association-trained player”.
46.04 A “club-trained player” is a player who, between the age of 15 (or the start of the season during which she turns 15) and 21 (or the end of the season during which she turns 21), and irrespective of her nationality and age, has been registered with her current club for a period, continuous or not, of three entire seasons (i.e. a period starting with the first official match of the relevant national championship and ending with the last official match of that relevant national championship) or of 36 months. In the context of this paragraph, the season immediately preceding a player’s 15th birthday may be counted if her birthday is after the last match of the relevant national championship but before or on 30 June (winter championships) or 31 December (summer championships), and the season immediately following her 21st birthday may be counted if her birthday is on or after 1 July (winter championships) or 1 January (summer championships) but before the first match of the relevant national championship.
46.05 An “association-trained player” is a player who, between the age of 15 (or the start of the season during which the player turns 15) and 21 (or the end of the season during which the player turns 21), and irrespective of her nationality and age, has been registered with a club or with other clubs affiliated to the same association as that of her current club for a period, continuous or not, of three entire seasons (i.e. a period starting with the first official match of the relevant national championship and ending with the last official match of that relevant national championship) or of 36 months. In the context of this paragraph, the season immediately preceding a player’s 15th birthday may be counted if her birthday is after the last match of the relevant national championship but before or on 30 June (winter championships) or 31 December (summer championships), and the season immediately following her 21st birthday may be counted if her birthday is on or after 1 July (winter championships) or 1 January (summer championships) but before the first match of the relevant national championship.
Arsenal have five club-trained players: Wubben-Moy, Beattie, Williamson, Goldie and Little and one association-trained player Mead. Therefore there is no problem here. Although UEFA deals with non-compliance in a different way than the FA.
46.06 If a club has fewer than four locally trained players in its squad, then the maximum number of players on List A is reduced accordingly.
It means the new signings made by the club will have no impact on that homegrown rule, the only impact is we can only add three players to the list from the four or five that will be signed during the January window.
47.01 As of the quarter-finals, a club may register a maximum of three new eligible players for the remaining matches in the current competition. Such registration must be completed by 16 March 2023 (24.00CET) at the latest. This deadline cannot be extended.
47.02 Any or all of the players from the above quota of three may have been fielded for another club in the preliminary round, round 1, round 2 or the group stage.
Once the transfer window has closed we will be able to know if the Arsenal comply with the rule or not.