Blatter announces "6+5" rule

Fifa boss outlines his plan to cut the number of foreign players in football clubs.

    Esteban Cambiasso was part of an Inter Milan side
    without an Italian player [GALLO/GETTY]
    Fifa president Sepp Blatter has predicted success for his proposed "6+5" rule which would limit football clubs' ability to pick overseas players.

    The plan is intended to increase opportunities for homegrown talent by forcing clubs to field at least six players eligible to play for the domestic national team.

    It would currently be illegal under European labour laws, but Blatter says he is confident of success.

    "It is indeed an issue which worries the family of football and it should eventually be implemented with the help of European institutions," Blatter said after a meeting of the Fifa Executive Committee.

    "Of course we don't want to clash directly with existing laws in the European Union concerning the free movement of workers," Blatter said.

    "It is also about the education and training of young people."

    The Lisbon treaty, adopted by EU members in October 2007, makes explicit reference to the specific nature of sport but the precise areas to which that applies are still to be negotiated.

    Blatter and Uefa president Michel Platini are scheduled to meet European Commission officials in Brussels next month.

    Sporting exemption

    Both Fifa and Uefa are lobbying for "specificity of sport" exemptions from EU trade and employment laws.

    EU Sports Commissioner Jan Figel said that the plan stands no chance of success.

    It is likely to also be highly unpopular with Europeans leading teams.

    In the last round of Uefa Champions League, Italian league leaders Inter Milan fielded a side without any Italians while English table toppers Arsenal had only a solitary Englishman, Theo Walcott, in their ranks.

    England's 39th game

    The Fifa president said the executive committee was less enamoured with a proposal by the English Premier League to stage an additional round of its league fixtures overseas.

    "There was a very strong response from the committee... that this idea does not work," Blatter said.

    Premier League officials were due to hold talks with Fifa last month but instead decided on "further consultation" after strong domestic and international criticism.

    Olympic spirit

    Summing up the rest of Friday's executive committee meeting, Blatter called on clubs to "abide by the Olympic spirit" and release players over 23 who want to play at the Beijing Games.

    Olympic football teams can use up to three 'overage' players although there is no obligation for clubs to release them.

    Fifa also said its ban on high altitude internationals will be maintained after the issue was discussed following a request by the South American football confederation (CONMEBOL).

    Fifa's ruling states no international matches should be played above 2,750 metres "without acclimatisation".

    SOURCE: Agencies


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