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Karl-Heinz Rummenigge criticizes the Premier League’s “alarming” youth scouting methods

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KHR was rather critical of England’s top flight and their aggressive approach to youth scouting...

Financial Fairplay Europe & Italy Workshop Photo by Vincenzo Lombardo/Getty Images

Speaking in an interview with GQ (via ESPN), Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was quite critical of the way Premier League clubs aggressively pursue young talents in the hopes that they’ll go on to become top class players. Rummenigge had previously gone as far as saying (back in 2016) that the manner in which Premier League clubs pressure young kids into signing contracts is borderline “kidnapping.”

Bayern Munich have made massive strides with their youth development with the opening of their new, state of the art FC Bayern Campus last year, but Rummenigge insists that Bayern’s youth scouting methods aren’t nearly as demanding as the Premier League’s:

I have noticed that English clubs, in particular, are already scouting 10 and 12-year-olds and convincing them to sign by handing a lot of money to their parents. That is alarming.

The economy of football is constantly changing; clubs are making more money, players wage demands are increasing, and transfer fees are becoming absurdly high. Arguably, both Rummenigge and Uli Hoeness go against the grain of the constantly-changing modern economy of the sport, but Rummenigge admits that Bayern still want to compete with Europe’s top clubs as far as scouting is concerned:

We are ready to compete, but not at all cost. We are scouting a lot more aggressively and are also prepared to spend a lot more money than we used to. But, we are always faced with the question: when do you reach the point when you must take a step back, even though the whole world is searching for the next Messi?

Rummenigge also feels that UEFA should take a closer look at updating their financial fair play regulations to ensure that clubs across Europe are held to stricter financial standards:

It should actually be a good financial controlling tool but it must be strictly and stringently enforced. Drastically speaking, strict and stringent means that everyone who contravenes it or starts playing tricks gets into trouble. Unfortunately, that has never happened. UEFA has to accept these accusations, because it simply has never shown any real courage or desire to resolutely fight back.