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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 15, 2009

SPL to take look at rule on under-21 players

Scottish Premier League chief executive Neil Doncaster is set to review the controversial rule which states that three under-21 players must be in each match-day squad of 18 for Premier League matches.

The ruling was brought in ostensibly to help the development of young players but has come under fire from many managers and players, most recently after Celtic's 1-1 draw with Dundee United at Parkhead on Saturday.

Hoops' boss Tony Mowbray complained that the rule has, in fact, hindered the development of 22-year-old Irishman Niall McGinn who was handed his debut only because Aiden McGeady was suspended.

Doncaster hinted at change in his latest blog, posted on the Premier League's website: "We currently have a rule that ensures at least three outfield players of the 18-man match day squad must be under 21. At the last meeting of the SPL managers, this rule was discussed at length.

"There are no doubt huge differences of views between the clubs. Some clubs sometimes use the three U21s as the last of the seven subs - almost as shirt fillers. Some managers felt strongly that the undeserved kudos and cash that came with unmerited first team involvement created a comfort zone for young players.

"Some players subsequently struggled to deal with the hard knocks of the real world when they were loaned out or transferred to clubs in the lower leagues. As an alternative, some have suggested that a home-grown rule might be the better way to go.

"While others want no restrictions on who can, and who cannot, make up the match day squad. This is something that we will be reviewing in the weeks ahead.''

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