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Fifa Approves Introduction Of Foreign-player Restrictions


Iceman1509

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http://www.tsn.ca/other_sports/story/?id=239262

I know this is soccer (football) but please leave it open as it pertains to all sports I think.

SYDNEY, Australia - Soccer's world governing body FIFA overwhelmingly approved the introduction of foreign-player restrictions Saturday, setting the stage for a legal fight with powerful European leagues and clubs.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter was bullish about the chances of a "6+5" rule being implemented. The rule would force clubs to have at least six players in the starting lineup who were eligible to play for the national team of the country their club was based in.

The European Union and England's powerful Premier League responded immediately to Friday's vote at the 58th FIFA Congress by saying the rule contravened EU law on freedom of movement for workers, and would not withstand legal challenge.

Blatter had long championed the rule to prevent the drain of players away from Africa and Latin America, aid player development, protect the national identity of clubs, and slow the growing imbalance between leagues.

His argument was backed by German legend Franz Beckenbauer and former France great Michel Platini, two of Europe's most powerful soccer politicians who said they would work to implement the rule.

The proposal was supported by 155 delegates, with five against and 40 abstaining. Despite overwhelming support for the objectives of the rule, few of FIFA's European delegates expect it to be implemented without a fight.

Blatter proposed a stepped introduction, with a 4+7 rule in place by 2010, 5+6 in 2011 and the 6+5 in 2012, giving clubs time to adjust their player contracts and rosters.

Since the Bosman ruling in 1995, which classified players as workers, the European Union has prohibited restrictions on the free movement of players within the EU.

"If you look at the workers in general, you have two per cent (of workers from other EU countries) for the general population in the 27 EU nations, but 43 per cent for the footballers," Blatter said. "Footballers should be known by some other identity, not simply as workers.

"When trying to introduce such a solution, naturally we shall not forget we're living in a world where we have to face national and international law. It's not our intention, and has never been, just to go into confrontation with our governmental authorities.

"The European Union is an economic and political power with 27 members and 30 (soccer) associations - 15 per cent of the total of the FIFA family. Shall they make the rules for all the others? This is political interference. We should not be afraid to intervene."

EU spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen said Friday the EU's position had not changed and it stood by a warning it issued to FIFA earlier this week.

Vladimir Spidla, the EU commissioner in charge of labour issues said Wednesday the European Commission would give "a red card to the "6+5" rule" because it violated employment laws.

If implemented, FIFA or UEFA could face legal action at the EU's Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

England's Football Association chief executive Brian Barwick was also standing by the EU law.

"Certainly we can understand the general principle of further exploration, but we're keen exponents of things staying within domestic and international law," Barwick said. "Any initiative of its type would have to fit that criteria for us."

"We're still great believers in the meritocracy, that players should be on the team on performance and ability first and foremost."

England was among the countries expected to fight the Blatter proposal, as the rise of the Premier League to dominance on and off the field was largely fuelled by foreign players.

The Premier League issued a statement after the FIFA Congress vote, saying the "6+5" rule would not be able to defy EU law.

"EU official spokespeople have repeatedly said that a nationality-based player quota system would be unlawful within the European Union," the statement said.

"They have also stated that any form of gentleman's agreement to achieve this objective would be instantly challengeable.

"We want to see the greatest possible number of England-qualified players coming through in the Premier League, but this has to be based on merit and quality, and there is no doubting that foreign talent has aided the technical development of the English game."

UEFA chief Platini was more enthusiastic, saying his confederation would work to implement the "objectives" of "6+5". UEFA had proposed alternative quotas based on where players were developed rather than their nationality - proposals that would adhere to EU employment law.

"The '6+5' rule is a European rule first and foremost ... it concerns the European leagues, the European Court, the European Parliament ..." he said. "That puts European football at risk.

"I fully share both the philosophy and objectives of the 6+5 rule - it would be an excellent thing for football and the identity of national teams. For Europe, it's not a comfortable position, but we'll do everything we can to assist the FIFA president reach this objective."

In other decisions, the Congress formally accepted the revised World Anti-Doping Agency drug code and changes to the qualifying criteria for players switching nationalities, defined its principles of promotion and relegation in national leagues to ensure it is based on sporting and not financial merits, approved a revised budget for 2007-2010 period, and agreed to hold next year's Congress in the Bahamas.

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I think this is great idea as I think it will help to promote more develpoment in players because teams will have to invest more into their own youth programs rather then poaching the best players worldwide (cough cough Real Madrid cough cough). Also it will help furthur development of non powerhouse countries because it will be easier for them to retain their own homegrown talent.

As for the EU, I hardly believe that you can classify soccer associations in the same light as other corporations and businesses. It is a completely different world and while I do believe that players generally deserve the same rights as the everyday working man I do not believe that as it stands now, the smaller clubs are being treated fairly. If the EU doesn't allow this then it is for one reason and one reason only - pressure from VIP soccer fans, club owners, and managers.

On a side note, I think that FIFA should just refuse to hold another world cup and change the qualification format so that only 2 European teams can make the 32. That might change their tune a little.

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I think this is great idea as I think it will help to promote more develpoment in players because teams will have to invest more into their own youth programs rather then poaching the best players worldwide (cough cough Real Madrid cough cough). Also it will help furthur development of non powerhouse countries because it will be easier for them to retain their own homegrown talent.

best players will still leave their home countries to play abroad...

there is no way to prevent that, but not everyone will go abroad and many players that would be sold to foreign clubs will stay in their home country...

impact of this new rule will not be as huge as we may think, but it may be rather significant over time...

On a side note, I think that FIFA should just refuse to hold another world cup and change the qualification format so that only 2 European teams can make the 32. That might change their tune a little.

FIFA makes enormous profits of the world cup, so the chances of them skipping one are precisely zero...

best football teams are from europe (except brazil and argentina) so there would be no point in organising the world cup with only 2 european countries...

england, germany, netherlands, france, spain and italy are all top-quality teams, not only in europe, but in the world as well...

2 out of those 6 would qualify for world cup and the other 4 should be adequately substituted... by whom?

p.s. i know you didn't mean literally 2 teams from europe

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