Van der Sar says UEFA must reform loan system to protect clubs’ young talent

September 8 – Edwin van der Sar, the former Dutch and Manchester United goalkeeper and now CEO of his beloved Ajax, says something has to be done about the European loan system which, he says, is stifling the first-team development of the brightest young talent.

Ajax are in the rare position of having no European football this season in either competition – five months after competing in the Europa League final.

It’s a source of huge disappointment to van der Sar but, he says, the bigger picture is one of being unable to hold on to emerging talent.

“We are a club that gives young players a chance but sometimes they prefer to go to a big team with a big contract and lot of security but then get loaned out to a smaller team and hardly feature in the first team of the club that bought them,” van der Sar told the BBC World Service.

Chelsea are one of many top sides who exploit the loan system, with no fewer than 35 players reportedly currently farmed out. Manchester City are doing the same with their latest acquisition by owners City Football Group of LaLiga’s Girona taking the potential issues to a new and corporate level.

“Somehow, together with FIFA and UEFA, we have to try to find a good solution,” says van der Sar. “We need to try to stabilise a situation that is going in the wrong direction.”

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