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Some nations have regulations limiting the squad selections in various ways, such as total number of foreign players or a minimum number of "home-grown" players. In Serie A and La Liga I believe there are limitations on number of non-EU citizens. In England, foreign players need to get work permit, which I believe requires the team to justify "employing" that particular player.

One usually claims that these regulations exist to enforce the teams to invest in youth academies and that the national teams do better in the long run. My question is whether or not this is claim can be backed up by statistics, in other words whether or not these regulations actually help develop national football.

I, personally suspect that it's not as beneficial as one might think, or hope. Isolating the league from foreign talent will likely give first team exposure to players from that nation, but without having to compete for the position, the players will ultimately not push themselves as hard as one would expect. Of course I can not back this up with statistics or literature, thus I ask this question.

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The Netherlands do not have this rule, but require a minimum salary (which is quite high), for non-EU players. – Bernhard Aug 13 '12 at 5:44
up vote 1 down vote accepted

It would be hard to make a real analysis of this, because the landmark Bosman and Kolpak rulings affected everyone at the same time, so you cannot compare how things would have developed this way or that way.

But many years later, I think it's clear that it did not matter much. The relative strength of national teams in Europe is still about the same as it was 20 or even 40 years ago, and it still has about the same variance over the years and between major tournaments. So I think the concern that the influx of foreign players into national leagues would harm the respective national teams did not come true.

What has become clearer because of this is that the development of talented players and teams begins much earlier at the youth levels. Many national and club teams have realized this or were forced to realize this in one way or another.

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