English Football Association (FA) Chairman Greg Dyke addresses the media at Millbank Tower in London, yesterday.
LONDON, England: Football Association chairman Greg Dyke set England the target of winning the 2022 World Cup during a wide-ranging speech about the future of the national game in London yesterday.
Dyke said England as a country must address the “frightening” lack of English players playing in the Premier League and set a nine-year plan of improvement for the national side.
“Today I want to set the whole of English football two targets,” he told journalists.
“The first is to at least reach the semi-finals of Euro 2020. And the second is for us to win the World Cup in 2022.”
In his first public address since succeeding David Bernstein in July, Dyke said the FA would be “letting the country and thousands of England fans down” if it did not act to give young English players more opportunities to play in the Premier League.
Dyke helped found the Premier League in 1992, but although he claimed that it was now the most successful domestic championship in the world, he said it was also harming the national team.
Describing English football as “a tanker that needs turning,” he said: “In the future, it’s quite possible we won’t have enough players qualified to play for England playing regularly at the highest level in this country.
“Last season, 32 per cent of Premier League players were English. Do we let the trend continue, or do we do something about it?
“What happens when the number goes from 32 to 25 to 20 to 15? Do we still ignore the problem, or do we act now?”
A succession of England coaches and players, such as current assistant coach Gary Neville, have insisted that the most talented English players will always rise to the surface, but Dyke questioned that mindset.
“Gary Neville said the cream will always rise to the top, but I’m not so sure,” he said.
Since winning the World Cup on home soil in 1966, England have reached the semi-finals of a major tournament just twice -- at the 1990 World Cup and the 1996 European Championship -- and Dyke said the country’s entire football framework needed to come together to look for answers.
He announced that he will set up a commission, including the chairmen of the Premier League, the Football League, the League Managers’ Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association, to answer three key questions.
“Why has it happened? What can be done? How can you make changes?” he said.
“The FA has to up its game, but all of English football has a problem. All of English football has to find a solution.”
Dyke said the committee would investigate the possibility of introducing a quota on foreign players, although he admitted that from a legal perspective, it would prove “complex”.
The commission will also examine proposals to change the loan system to help young English players get more playing time, as well as evaluating the feasibility of a winter break.
“I know setting up a commission might be seen as a bureaucratic response to a serious problem, but if we are to have any chance of success going forward, it’s important that football as a whole recognises the problem and also buys into the possible radical solutions,” he said.
He added: “We have to do something. If we do not, it’s hard to see England even challenging for the World Cup or the Euro Championships in the years ahead -- let alone meeting the targets I’ve set.
“If we do not, we will be letting down generations of English kids who might otherwise have made it at the top level in football but weren’t given the chance.
“If we do not, we will be letting down the England fans who turn up in their thousands.” AFP