What are the requirements to play in the Premier League?

With foreign and local business people starting to find increasing value in investing in the English Football League, we are seeing more smaller clubs excel through the divisions and reach the gates of the Premier League faster than ever. Wrexham and Salford are two of the most high profile due to social media and television shows. However clubs like Brighton, Brentford, Bournemouth and now Luton have already made it to the promised land. But are they equipped to actually take part in the biggest football league on earth?

What are the requirements to play in the Premier League? Premier League clubs must submit a ‘Squad List’ after each transfer window closes, consisting of no more than 17 players who do not fulfill “Home Grown Player” criteria. The remainder of the maximum 25 man squad must meet the criteria for “Home Grown Player”. Clubs must have been a member of the Premier League in the previous season and not been relegated, or have won promotion from the Football Championship. Premier League Clubs must have a home ground available for all fixtures that meets legal safety requirements to hold a minimum capacity of 5,000, of which 2,000 are seated.

The three main criteria for playing in the Premier League are, have a squad that meets the rules, have a stadium that meets the rules and have qualified to take part through your performance the previous season. If you’ve got those 3 things in place, then in theory, your club is good to go.

What is a Home-Grown Player in the English Premier League?

The (English) Football Association and therefore the, Football League and Premier League rules define a Home Grown Player as the below;

“A ‘Home-Grown Player’ means a player who, irrespective of nationality or age, has been registered with any club affiliated to The Football Association or the Football Association of Wales for a period, continuous or not, of three entire seasons, or 36 months, before his 21st birthday (or the end of the season during which he turns 21).”

That is a pretty clear definition of what the Premier League considers a home grown player. It’s not so much about where a player is from, it’s more about what club or national FA have done the most to develop them before they turn 21. There is no age cap on when this eligibility starts, if a player is on the clubs books through their youth or academy teams as a child, that eligibility still counts toward home grown status.

An interesting rule that sits alongside the Home Grown Player rule is those that govern the use of under 21 players. Under-21 players are eligible over and above the limit of 25 players per squad. Each player is assigned a squad number, which they wear during Premier League matches. For the 2023/24 campaign Under-21 players will have been born on or after 1 January 2002. Notice the slight difference in how the date of turning 21 is calculated for Home Grown Status and under 21 status. The clear date of 1st January each year, makes it simple for players to be registered as Under 21 for that entire season.

Premier League teams do not have to have ANY “Home Grown Players” registered. It would be perfectly within the rules for a Premier League side to register a squad of 17 non home grown players. They could compete with just 17 players all season or supplement it with under 21 players. However, this isn’t a prudent course of action given the grueling nature of a top level football season.

When building a Premier League squad, it’s important for clubs not to just think about the minimum requirements they will need for that league, they must also factor in what they will need if they qualify for one of UEFA’s club competitions, The Conference League, the Europa League and the Champions League.

UEFA Home Grown Status; Jude Bellingham a case study

Recently it was announced that Jude Bellingham had signed for Spanish Giants Real Madrid. The England international who doesn’t turn 21 until 29th June 2024 had long been rumored to come to the Premier League this summer, however he has now diverted away. This raises an interesting case study when it comes to the Homegrown Rule.

While as far as the English FA, Football League and Premier League are concerned, Bellingham who signed with Birmingham FC in 2010 and stayed with them for 10 years before moving to Dortmund in Germany at 17, will always count as a “Home Grown Player”. This is not the case in UEFA competitions, such as the Champions League.

UEFA rules require clubs to register at least 8 ‘locally trained players’ in their 25-man squads, notice the different terminology to the Premier League rule. The UEFA rule breaks that down further into 2 categories ‘association-trained’ and ‘club-trained’, stating that ‘no more than 4 locally trained players are allowed to be ‘association-trained’ players. Clubs are required to ‘name a minimum four ‘club-trained’players’ if they wish to name a full squad in UEFA competition.

In simple terms this means that for a club to compete in UEFA competition a minimum 4 members of the 25 man squad must have been on that club’s books for at least 3 years between the ages of 15 and 21. In addition 4 more, totalling 8, must also meet that criteria OR on another club’s books in the same Football Association for three years between the ages of 15 and 21, making them an Association Trained player.

UEFA Locally Trained Players

    • Club-trained; at that club for three years between the ages of 15 and 21
    •  Association-trained; within thesame football  association for three years between the ages of 15 and 21

Bellingham is too old to be classified as a ‘club-trained player’ with anyone other than Dortmund, however, he could have been counted as ‘association-trained’ for Premier League teams if he had returned to England for the 2023-24 season. Having left Birmingham when he was 17, Bellingham has already completed two such years, and would have been able to pick up his third year after signing back in England, meaning he would have been eligible as a Locally Trained player under the Association-trained rule for any English FA club in UEFA competition for the remainder of his career. His £89 million transfer to Madrid has killed that option. Bellingham will now be eligible as a Home Grown player in the Premier League, but not in the Champions League if he was ever to return to England. He will also only ever count as a locally trained player for teams playing under the German FA in UEFA competitions. This was created due to UEFAs distinction of age 15 being the starting point of eligibility, where the English FA do not have a starting age cut off.

Premier League Status

When the Premier League started in 1992 it had 22 members. Of those original 22 teams only SIX; Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Everton have never been relegated. All other clubs competing in the Premier League qualify due to winning promotion from the Championship.

You can gain promotion to the Premier League in 1 of 3 ways. Winning the Championship, finishing second in the Championship or winning the Championship playoffs. There is no other way for a team to gain Premier League status.

Once you are in the Premier League, every season your place is at risk, since the 1994-95 season the league has consisted of 20 teams, 3 of whom get relegated each year. The top 17 Premier League teams stay in the Division, the bottom 3 Premier League teams are relegated to the English Football League Championship

Each of the 20 Premier League teams hold an equal share of the Premier League ownership. This has been the same ever since its inception. So for the 2023-24 season, newly promoted Luton hold the same financial influence on the Premier League as Manchester United who have never left the division and won it 13 times. Upon relegation you relinquish your financial stake in the Premier League, it is then bestowed upon the newly promoted team.

Below is a list of current Premier League teams, when they last joined the league and who their top scorer is;

ClubMost recent promotionTotal seasonsCurrent streakHighest finishPrem Top scorer
Arsenal1992–9332321stThierry Henry (175)
Chelsea1992–9432321stFrank Lampard (147)
Everton1992–9532324thRomelu Lukaku (68)
Liverpool1992–9632321stMohamed Salah (137)
Manchester United1992–9732321stWayne Rooney (183)
Tottenham Hotspur1992–9832322ndHarry Kane (213)
Manchester City2001–0227221stSergio Agüero (184)
West Ham United2011–1228125thMichail Antonio (61)
Crystal Palace2012–13151110thWilfried Zaha (68)
Newcastle United2016–172972ndAlan Shearer (148)
Brighton & Hove Albion2016–17776thGlenn Murray (28)
Wolverhampton Wanderers2017–181067thRaúl Jiménez (40)
Aston Villa2018–192952ndGabriel Agbonlahor (73)
Brentford2020–21339thIvan Toney (32)
Fulham2021–221727thClint Dempsey (50)
Bournemouth2021–22729thJoshua King (48)
Nottingham Forest2021–22723rdBryan Roy (24)
Burnley2022–23917thChris Wood (49)
Sheffield United2022–23619thBrian Deane (15)
Luton Town2022–2311NANA

Premier League Stadium Requirements

The home ground requirements for the Premier League are exactly the same as those for any Football League competition, be that the Championship, League 1 or League 2. These can be found in detail by clicking here, but we have summarized what you need to know below.

  • Minimum Premier League stadium capacity
    • 5,000 minimum total
    • 2,000 minimum seated
  • Safety of Terraces
    • Any terracing at the ground must conform with the requirements of the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds – and all local authorities will be asked to independently assess terrace capacities.
  • Floodlighting average lux value
    • Premier League & Championship; 800 lux
    • League 1 & 2; 500 lux
    • The average lux value of the floodlights, obtained from 88 readings taken on the grid system provided by The League, must meet the following minimum criteria for each division.
  • Safety Certificate
    • Each Club shall hold a current safety certificate issued in accordance with the provisions of the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975.
  • Staffing
    • The Club must have specific personnel (i.e. Club Doctor, Therapist) as required by League Regulations and a full-time administration.
  • CCTV
    • The Club must have a CCTV surveillance system in accordance with the requirements of the local safety committee and maintain the same in good condition.
  • External Boundary Wall
    • The external boundary wall to be of sound construction, secure on all sides and sufficient to deter would-be intruders. The minimum height must be 2.2 meters.
  • Turnstiles
    • These must be of the automatic revolving type fitted with counting facilities and a computerized turnstile monitoring system.
  • Refreshments & Toilets
    • Refreshment facilities must be available for spectators in each separate area of the ground . There must be a refreshment room or access to a lounge area available for players.
    • There must be adequate toilet facilities for both men and women (of all ages) in each separate area of the ground. There must be at least one washbasin in each toilet facility. Designated areas of the ground must also provide appropriate disabled toilet facilities.
  • PA System
    • There must be a public address system installed, with adequate speaker output to relay information to all spectator areas, as required by the local authority, with the ability to interrupt for safety announcements from the stadium control room.
  • Pitch perimeter protection & Stewards
    • Appropriate pitch perimeter protection, for example wall / barrier surrounding the pitch, to be of sound construction and to comply with current standards as laid down in the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds.
    • All Stewards working at matches played under the auspices of The League shall undergo a programme of training in relation to stewarding at football grounds as approved in writing by The League.
  • Directors Box
    • The directors’ box should enjoy a prime position in the main stand. There should be individual seats in a designated area and Home and Away areas should be clearly marked. The standard of accommodation for Home and Away directors shall be comparable.
    • Minimum Home Seats; 24
    • Minimum Away Seats; 16
    • First 16 Away Directors box tickets must be free of charge
    • There must be a guest room for entertaining Home and Away Directors with appropriate subsistence / refreshments provided.
  • Dressing Rooms
    • Players. Separate dressing rooms must be provided for the teams. The minimum size for each changing room is 30 sq. meters.
    • Each Dressing Room must have as a minimum;
      • 6 shower units or 6 separate baths, 4 toilet units (WC’s or urinals), 2 washbasins, 1 massage table, 1 fridge, 1 tactical board and 1 working double power socket.
    • Match Officials. The dressing room for match officials must have a changing area of at least 10 sq. meters and at least two showers. There must be one WC and one wash basin.
    • Medical Treatment Room; There must be a suitably equipped medical treatment room in the vicinity of the players’ dressing rooms.
  • Press Area
    • Minimum 40 seats with desktops and power available.
  • Playing Area & Equipment
    • The dimensions of the field of play must be in accordance with League Regulations.
    • The shortest distance between touch-line and pitch perimeter barrier to be ideally 2.75 meters, but no less than 2.25 meters.
    • The shortest distance between goal line and pitch perimeter barrier to be ideally 2.75 meters, but no less than 2.25 meters.
    • Goal posts and goal net supports to be of professional manufacture and to meet the requirements of the Laws of the Game. Replacement set to be on site at all times.
    • Clearly marked home and away team areas, with technical boxes marked out.
    • The playing surface shall be grass and must be of a high standard, as defined by The League, specifically The maximum slopes allowable shall not exceed an even gradient of vertical to horizontal 1:41 in any direction.
  • Goal Line Technology & VAR must be in place for all Premier League home games

That is a summary of what basic standards clubs in the football league need to achieve by the time they reach Championship and Premier League level. To ensure nothing slips through the cracks when teams are looking to be promoted from the Championship to the Premier League, there is a review rule in place.

What do Championship Clubs have to consider when being promoted to the Premier League?

By 31st January every year, each Championship Club must submit to the board of the Premier League a detailed and costed proposal setting out how, if it is promoted to the Premier League, it will be able to meet the following requirements of Premier League rules by the following dates:

Premier League ruleDescriptionDate
K.11Players’ dressing rooms to have an area of at least 30 square meters
On promotion
K.13 – K.14Security of Players, directors and officials of a visiting Club and of match officialsOn promotion
K.22Provide and Maintain Undersoil heatingOn promotion
K.25 – K.27Goal Line TechnologyOn promotion
K.29Seats in proximity to the Trainers’ BenchOn promotion (subject to any dispensation permitted by the Rule)
K.45 – K.49Internet connectivityOn promotion
K.50 – K.52TV gantryOn promotion
K.53 – K.54UK TV commentary positionsOn promotion
K.55 – K.56Overseas TV commentary positionsOn promotion
K.57Radio commentary positionsOn promotion
K.58 – K.61Camera and interview positionsOn promotion
K.66TV studiosOn promotion
K.67 – K.69Media seatsOn promotion
K.71 – K.72Mixed ZoneOn promotion
K.75 – K.76Hardwiring & cablingOn promotion
K.78 – K.79Power supplyOn promotion
K.80 – K.83TV compound and car parking spacesOn promotion
K.86 – K.87Media working area; conference room; press and data seatsOn promotion
K.91Photographers’ access and facilitiesOn promotion
K128 – K.141FloodlightingOn promotion

We have included a link to the Premier League Handbook for 2022-23 if you would like to look at the rules in more detail and how each club has implemented them.


Life long Portsmouth Fan and have followed football since 1993. Is there a better sport on earth?

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