Flawed thinking behind new foreign players limit

ARDA ALAN IŞIK
ISTANBUL
Published 16.03.2019 00:53

Although not confirmed officially, it has been verified by numerous sources to various newspapers that the Turkish Football Federation is going to change the foreign players limit yet again. The current, relatively liberal version, which only states that Turkish teams must have 14 Turkish players on their squad, will be changed to a system in which there can be at most 10 foreign players. Added to that, only six of them will be able to play in the starting line-up, two can be put on the bench, and two have to be left off the squad. Finally, as the cherry on top, this new system will most probably be put into action right after this season ends.

So, as you can guess, this new regulation caused lots of eyebrows to raise, and almost no one in the Turkish football community made a statement that backs up the new regulations. Honestly, it is hard to disagree with people who protest the new regulation since not only is the reasoning behind it flawed, but also the execution is terrible. Teams made many three-to-four year contracts with foreign players at the beginning of this season and in the winter break, and now, out of the blue, they are told that they have to sell four of their foreign players prematurely. Furthermore, they will not be able to use two of them each week and force their coaches to make an absurd economy among his or her players. Thus, it is obvious that the method and timing of the new regulation does not contribute to the administration of a team, which is crucial to producing new Turkish talents.

However, the mentality behind the new system is even more problematic than the execution, and it has been proven not only to be ineffective but also harmful countless times in the history of Turkish football. In the last decade, the foreign players limit has been changed several times, and each time it gave the same results: restricting foreign players does not create new Turkish talents. On the other hand, in the last four years in which teams could have 14 foreign players, talents like Ozan Kabak, Cengiz Ünder and Cenk Tosun proved themselves and went to Europe. The foreign players limit made things even worse since clubs were obligated to have mediocre, fat and spoiled native players who knew that their place was secured by the regulation. Therefore, the foreign players limit and the production of new talents have a negative correlation.

The negative consensus among the Turkish football community shows that this new regulation is flawed and unnecessary in all aspects because it tries to solve a deep, chronic issue with a cliché, outdated method that has proven to be wrong. First, the real problem is the low number of Turkish players, not the failure of the Turkish national team. If you equate the two, you basically think that if Turkey produces enough talent, then the national team will prevail. But that is not the case; team performance depends on many parameters such as their strategies and tactics. Nevertheless, it seems obvious to me that whoever planned this new regulation had in his or her mind the failure of the national team in recent years. Thus, this regulation is prepared with the wrong goal in mind, with a demonstrably flawed mentality and an extremely poor execution. Obviously, it will have next to no benefit for Turkish football.

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