Political Economy of Football
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FIFA Backs Blatter's 6 + 5 Plan



Football's governing body Fifa has backed president Sepp Blatter's 'six-plus-five' scheme which would limit the number of foreign players in a team to five. Blatter wants to bring in the proposal by 2012/13 and it would hit the English Premiership hard. However, it may never see the light of day as the European Commission says it is discriminatory and illegal. The Commission belives a quota on foreign footballers would be in breach of European employment law which allows works to move freely between member states. However, Blatter, who has a meeting with the Commission on 5 June, argues, 'Speaking about it is illegal? For whom? For when? If there is a law, a law can be amended.'

In contrast the 'home-grown players' rule has received EU backing. This means that four players in a Champions League or Uefa Cups squad must have been developed by the club, with another four having been produced by clubs from the same federation. To be eligible, a player of any nationality must have been developed by the club for three years between the ages of 15 and 21. Jan Figel, EU Commissioner for Education, Training and Youth said that these proposals did not discriminate against nationality and encouraged clubs to develop their academies. 'Measures which require the top European clubs to preserve quality training structures seem to me to be necessary,' said Figel. 'The Uefa rule thus avoids the risk of professional football clubs abandoning training structures.'


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