Premier League – FIFA votes to limit foreigners


FIFA president Sepp Blatter is on a collision course with European lawmakers after the congress of world football’s governing body voted overwhelmingly in favour of him pursuing his ‘6+5’ rule.

2008 Sepp Blatter wild, staring eyes - 0

The Sydney congress voted 155-5 in favour of the objectives of the rule which would limit the number of foreign players who can start a match to five from 2012. There were 40 abstentions.

The congress passed the resolution, asking Blatter (pictured) together with UEFA counterpart Michel Platini to “continue to explore for Europe… all possible means within the limits of the law to ensure that these crucial sporting objectives be achieved”.

The European Union says the ‘6+5’ rule would contravene its free movement of workers rules.

“Where there is a will, there is a way. And we will try with consultation and consultation and not confrontation,” Blatter told the congress.

Platini told the congress that he fully supported the philosophy of Blatter’s rule and agreed with its principles.

“It is a thorny issue. Europe is not [in] a comfortable position but we will do all we can to help the FIFA president reach this objective,” he told the 200 assembled members.

“[The rule] is considered illegal by the European Union. Within the football family we don’t all agree. Some of the leagues were against, some in favour, clubs generally against.

“[If the rule as it stands were implemented] then we as UEFA would find ourselves in a difficult place and could find ourselves in court.

“I fully share the philosophy and objectives of the rule. We are in full agreement when it comes to the general idea.”

Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer, chairman of FIFA’s Football Committee, fully backed the quota proposals.

England — perhaps it is unfair but that’s the way it is — is the best known example [of foreign players dominating teams],” he said.

“Three English teams in the semi-finals [of the Champions League], Manchester United and Chelsea in the final, an extraordinary match.

“But then after the match everyone regretted a single fact. That England will not be represented at the Euro [2008].

“There is a reason for that,” he said, alluding to the glut of foreign players at English clubs.

“This is the case in other countries too. We have clubs in Germany where there are no German players on the field. That is not in the interest of football and its future.

“In our committee we have discussed this issue. It did not take much time. We want to support the FIFA president and the UEFA president because we need to find a solution with the European Union.

“I have always thought that when reasonable people sit around the table, a reasonable solution can be found and that is what I hope will happen here.”

Blatter stressed that it was not his intention to confront lawmakers.

“When trying to introduce such a solution, naturally we shall not forget we are living in a world where we have to face national and international or regional law and it is not our intention just to go into confrontation with our governmental authorities.

“To go forward, we would say that it is the result that six players eligible to play for the national team of the country should be on the field of play at the beginning. It means that with the substitutions you could have 3+8 at the end.

“We need some consultation with the government authorities, especially in Europe, but we would propose to start a ‘4+7’ in 2010, ‘5+6’ in 2011 and we would be ready to apply ‘6+5’ in 2012.”


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