Football: Premier League, FA 'fight' hurts England, says Eriksson

SHANGHAI (AFP) - Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson says in-fighting between the English Football Association and the English Premier League is holding the national team back in the cradle of the game.

The Swede was speaking after he and four other former England bosses backed FA chairman Greg Dyke's plan to force English clubs to give homegrown talent more opportunities.

The proposal to raise clubs' minimum number of domestic players from eight to 12 could put the FA at loggerheads with Premier League clubs, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger - the first top flight boss to field an all-foreign 16-strong matchday squad in England - recently voicing his opposition.

The focus on Dyke's long-running attempts to overhaul the English game increased after the national team's dismal showing at last year's World Cup, crashing out early after losing their opening two group games.

"I think the chances to reach a final in the World Cup is much bigger if you make some restrictions on taking foreigners," said Eriksson in Shanghai, where he is coaching current Chinese Super League leaders Shanghai SIPG.

Opposition to the plan was primarily financially driven, he said.

"It is cheaper to buy a player from Sweden, from Norway, from wherever it is, than to buy one from another club in England.

"It is the FA on one side and the Premier League on the other. It is a fight, and it has been going on all the time."

Sven also said the Three Lions' chances of success would improve if the Premier League introduced a winter break - an idea he touted when he was the national coach between 2001 and 2006.

"But (England) is still debating about it," he bemoaned. "Once again - FA control, Premier League?"

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