Dyke demands big changes
New Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has set England the target of lifting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar - even though he fears there soon won't be enough English players in the Premier League to compete on the international stage.
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Dyke deliberately chose an international week to make a lengthy and wide-ranging speech outlining his concerns for the game.
Although he insisted his address should not be interpreted as a declaration of war on the Premier League, his major worries centre around the diminishing number of Englishmen in the top flight.
Dyke has pledged to set up a commission, that will include Premier League representation, to find a solution to the problem.
And given his target for the Three Lions, he intends work to begin pretty quickly.
"I want to set the whole of English football two targets," he said.
"The first is for the England team to at least reach the semi finals of the European Championships in 2020. The second is for us to win the World Cup in 2022.
"To show we are making progress I'd like to see us do well in the Under-20s World Cup in 2017 with the objective of that squad then moving on to the Under-21 European Championships.
"Are these realistic targets?
"Without targets what are we working towards? Some will say that targets are only burdening our players with more pressure but top players have to be able to handle pressure if they want to be winners - and we want to be winners."
As Dyke pointed out, the 2020 mission could be aided by England having home advantage for some of their fixtures under UEFA's multi-host idea.
What he didn't mention was that the following World Cup is due to be played in searing temperatures in Qatar, which as it presently stands, is still gearing up to host a summer tournament.
That competition will almost certainly be switched to winter, a move that will not go down well with the Premier League.
And the notion they might need to neuter their own competition - which Dyke accepts is the "most successful league in the world" - will make them feel pretty uncomfortable too given the vast amounts of money it generates.
Crucially though, the FA have no control over it, which explains why Dyke is trying for the diplomatic route, even if his concerns are shared by many, the vast majority of whom, he believes are ardent fans of the national side rather than disinterested bystanders.
"Television ratings show quite clearly that fans certainly want a successful English team," he said.
"Club matches occasionally get audiences in excess of 10 million when teams are playing an important match on free to air television.
"But when England are playing in the finals of the World Cup or the European Championships as many as 20 million people watch a game."
Yet the summer was spent obsessing about Jose Mourinho, David Moyes, Manuel Pellegrini and other Premier League affairs.
Only when England's Under-21 and Under-20 squads performed so abysmally at their respective competitions did consciences start to get pricked.
And Dyke feels there is a reason for that failure - and others will surely follow unless his fears are addressed.
"Last season's figure for the Premier League was 32% English players starting games," he said.
"Do we let this trend continue? What happens when that declines to 25%, to 20% or even 15%? Do we still ignore the problem and hope it goes away? Or do we take action now?
"I know this speech could be written up as 'Dyke declares war on the Premier League' but it genuinely isn't that. English football has a problem. English football has to find a solution together.
"It is crucial that English football finds a solution without undermining the undoubted success of the Premier League. We don't want to kill the golden goose in the search of the golden egg.
"But the situation is very serious. English football is a tanker which needs turning.
"And we all have a responsibility to do our best to reverse this frightening trend because if we fail we will be letting English football down and we will be letting the nation down."
Greg Dyke speech - key points:
- Aston Villa v Liverpool is being televised live in the UK on Sky Sports, with the Fulham v Arsenal game on BT Sport.
- Sets a target to reach the semi-finals at Euro 2020 and win the World Cup in 2022.
- Describes the English game as a "tanker which needs turning" citing the amount of foreign players limiting chances for English players.
- States the England team does not have a history of success compared with its international rivals.
- Wants to improve how England identify and nurture talent and create an environment where the players want to play for England.
- Wants more English players who are consistent starters in the Barclays Premier League but believes it is "crucial that English football finds a solution without undermining the undoubted success of the Premier League".
- Aims to set up an FA Commission asking why so few players registered for England play in the Premier League, what can be done about it and how changes can be made.
- The chairmen of the Premier League, the Football League, the League Managers Association and the Professional Footballers' Association will be asked to join the commission and people from all positions in football will be welcome to give evidence.
- Dyke said he was open to:
1.The exploration of a quota system for foreign players.
2. Examining the current work permit system.
3. Examining the loan system to see if it can be made more effective in terms of developing players.
4. Evaluating the pros and cons of a mid-season break.