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By ESPN Staff
Nov 9, 2006

League amend rules to benefit emerging coaches

Premier League chiefs have amended their rules to give greater leeway to emerging coaches to take charge at top flight clubs.

Glenn Roeder was given special dispensation by Barclays Premiership clubs to take over at Newcastle at the league's annual general meeting despite not having the required UEFA Pro Licence.

And, having entered into ongoing discussions over Gareth Southgate's appointment at Middlesbrough, the league's board today approved a change to the rule to allow a manager to be in charge as long as he is enrolled on the course.

The amendment does not affect Southgate's situation - he cannot enrol on the course as he has not yet completed his UEFA A Licence - but brings the Barclays Premiership into line with other European leagues.

A Premier League statement read: 'The board put forward an amendment to the Managers' Qualifications Rule meaning that it was no longer necessary to have completed the UEFA Pro Licence in order to be appointed as a Premier League manager.

'The new rule stipulates that the UEFA Pro Licence qualification must have been started in order to be appointed as a full-time manager.

'This was agreed by the clubs and brings the Premier League into line with UEFA Licensing requirements.'

Roeder's situation during the summer highlighted a problem in the qualifications rule.

The 50-year-old had initially been enrolled on the course during his time at West Ham when he was struck down by a brain tumour.

He took charge at Newcastle as caretaker after Graeme Souness was sacked in February, and after guiding the club into seventh place in the league and Europe, chairman Freddy Shepherd decided he was the man for the job.

However, he could only start the course during the summer and the board voted to give the Magpies dispensation because of the extenuating circumstances.

Southgate's situation is significantly different in that he is yet to start the A Licence course and will not be able to embark upon the Pro Licence until next summer.

Boro remain in talks with the Premier League and the FA in a bid to resolve his situation, although the 12-week period for which he is allowed to remain in charge, which is due to end on Saturday, has now become three calendar months and will extend to next Sunday.

Boro's argument is that the 36-year-old was playing up until he was asked to succeed Steve McClaren and therefore had no time in which to gain his qualifications.

They are hoping their willingness to allow McClaren to leave his contract on Teesside to take up the England post will also work in their favour.

The League Managers' Association has argued consistently for the rules govering coaching qualifications to be enforced.

However, chief executive John Barnwell said they have no problem with today's development.

He said: 'This is a change of the Premiership's stance, not UEFA's stance.

'UEFA's position is, and always has been, if you are on the Pro Licence and have shown good faith, you can be appointed the coach/manager of a senior club across Europe.

'We are quite relaxed about that, it just brings us into line with the rest of Europe.

'They are not our (the LMA's) regulations, they are the responsibility of the Premiership and the FA, but we support coach qualification and people having signed up to it, we expect them to abide by it.

'Coach qualification was made mandatory, but what we have had a problem with is people with an A Licence being appointed without having started the Pro Licence.

'But if you are enrolled on the course and have started your Pro Licence, we have no problem with that.'

Boro chief executive Keith Lamb tonight told Sky Sports: 'Gareth is as keen as anyone to complete his badges in the quickest possible time, he will do that and in the meantime will remain Boro manager.

'The rule change was proposed by the Premier League board and discussed and debated by the Premier League. Gareth's name did not crop up.

'Everyone - including the Premier League and the LMA - is aware of the dilemma and this ruling goes some way towards solving that.'