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Quota System For Home Grown Players

Football League chairmen have voted to bring in what is thought to be the only quota system on foreign players anywhere in Europe. The new rule requires that four of the 16 players in a matchday squad should be 'home grown'. Foreign players registered in England for three years before their 21st birthday would qualify as a domestic recruit. The rule will have little immediate effect as all but two of the 72 Football League clubs already comply. However, Football League chairman Lord Mahwinney insisted that this was just the start.

More Foreign Players in Top European Leagues

The annual review by the Professional Football Players Observatory of the European football players' labour market shows that the percentage of players having grown up in a different country to that of their club of employment in the 2007/08 season reached a new record (42.4 per cent). There was 3.6 per cent increase compared to the preceding season. The most marked change was recorded in Italy (+7.5 per cent).

West Ham On The Market, Newcastle Off

West Ham United has been put up for sale, but Newcastle may not be sold. At Upton Park the financially stricken Icelandic owner of the club, Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, is inviting offers for the Premiership club. Legally binding non-disclosure agreements have been signed with five interested investors, enabling them to look at confidential financial information about the Hammers on condition that they do not disclose it. This falls short of due diligence which gives prospective buyers full access to the club's accounts.

Arsenal Up For Grabs Again

The ownership of Arsenal could be up for grabs again after a boardroom row effectively ended the board's lockdown agreement under which directors agreed in 2007 to sell shares to each other. The board ousted long-standing director Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith leaving her free to sell her stake to the club's biggest shareholder, Russian steel magnate Alisher Usmanov. Bracewell-Smith has been marginalised in recent years and didn't get her candidate for chief executive appointed.

Real Madrid Tops Money League

Deloitte's annual Football Money League, which analyses revenues in the 2007-8 season, shows Real Madrid, Manchester United and Barcelona retaining their top three positions. Manchester United saw revenue increase by 21 per cent and only the depreciation of sterling against the euro prevented it from coming top. Overall attendances for the top 20 clubs are slightly up in the first four months of the season compared with the same period last year. Seven of the clubs in the top 20 are English, four are from Italy and the same number are from Germany with two each from Spain and France.

More Financial Worries At Hearts

Once again there are rumours that the Edinburgh club are up for sale as uncertainty persists over the finances and intentions of their backers. Twice this season the Ukio Bankas Investment Group (UBIG) has failed to pay players' wages on times and there has been a private admission from within the club that they have a serious cash flow problem. The finances of UBIG and Vladimir Romanov have always appeared complex. News that another club they claim to subsidise, MTZ-Ripo of Belarus, have failed to pay some staff in six months has renewed concerns.

Wrexham AFC's Ambitious Plan

Blue Square Conference side Wrexham has revealed an ambitious £40m investment plan designed to transform the former league club's finances and lead to the rebuilding of the historic Kop. The club has lodged revised plans for a £40m Glyndwr University village with space for 800 students, the income from which it is hoped will clear the club's massive £3m-£4m debts. Any further profit would then be used to finance the rebuilding of the historic Kop stand, which is currently out of action.

Record Turnover Announced at Everton

Everton have announced a record turnover of £75.7m and a slight pre-tax profit. Revenues for financial year ended 31st May increased 47% compared with previous 12 months. Before player trading they made a profit of £6.8m compared with a loss of £500.000 the year before. Transfer dealings, however, almost wipe out the surplus with a pre-tax profit of £260,000. Last year the club lost £9.4m.

Bigger Hit For Scottish Football From Credit Crunch

Many of those involved in Scottish football think that it will take a bigger hit from the credit crunch than the game south of the border. Charles Barnett, the author of PFK's annual report on football club finances, thinks that with the exception of Celtic and Rangers, crowds will suffer. 'The Old Firm have sold out their stadia through season ticket sales,' he said. 'It doesn't affect them so much. It will impact more on the clubs who rely on ticket sales.' St.

Liverpool Lose Their Sheikh

It looks as if the ruler of Dubai is no longer interested in buying Liverpool who are having difficulty in raising funds for their new stadium. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum has told the club's owners that he has dropped his interest after an unsuccessful two-year pursuit. Intermediary Amanda Staveley, who has been negotiating on Sheikh Mohammed's behalf since the turn of the year, has told Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. that he is no longer interested because of the financial climate and their refusal to lower an 'unrealistic' £600m valuation.