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Blatter calling for foreign quotas, would ‘6-plus-5’ rule work?

Apr 25, 2014, 8:15 AM EDT

FIFA President Sepp Blatter addresses the media in Zurich Reuters

FIFA President Sepp Blatter loves to open up a can of worms, doesn’t he?

On Friday Blatter has suggested that a previous plan to limit the number of foreign players in a clubs starting lineup should be revived to help national teams thrive.

The famous “6-plus-5” rule caused plenty of controversy a few years back, as the idea was shelved in 2010 as it was deemed as unworkable under European labor law. The 28-nation European Union proctets the free movement of workers, and that is why this ruling fell flat on its face in the past.

What the rule means is that at least six players in the starting lineup must be eligible to play for the home nation of the club in question. So, if these rules were to come in place then Chelsea would have to field at least six Englishman in their starting lineup, when at the moment the best they can offer is around four. Even that’s a push.

This topic has come back into the news after Blatter wrote the following in FIFA’s weekly magazine: “we have not heard the last word on this subject.” Blatter believes this is a good idea because it creates a close link between the clubs and their national team and helps to keep the identity of both intact.

Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini have butted heads on this topic many times in the past and it will only act to further fueld the flames before the next FIFA presidential election in May 2015.

Would it be a good idea for European clubs to adopt this rule?

I think so. In reality it has a long, long way to go to be implemented with many clubs reluctant to change their entire setup, but if done correctly then the vast academy and youth systems prevalent all across the top European leagues will again become relevant instead of an afterthought. Right now money is pumped into these schools of excellence without any real direction, other than hoping one or two players will make the grade every five years or so. If you had to rely heavily on players who are eligible to play for the country where your club is based, then you’d soon see clubs change their tune and look at their academies in an entirely different way.

Fans would be able to connect with their sides better and the national teams would benefit from a larger pool of players. Yet restricting how many players from each country can play for a single team becomes rather tricky, as the legal issues with the EU don’t seem to be disappearing anytime soon.

As Blatter said, we haven’t heard the last on this topic.

  1. Greg - Apr 25, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    Two words, Bosman Ruling. Back before then they had the 3 foreigner rule in UEFA competitions, and some leagues like Serie A had 3 non EU rules. Freedom of worker movement within the EU will never allow this to happen again. The only way it would ever get by is if they go back to the 5 non EU players, but then most Brazilian and Argentine players get EU passports fairly easy for work permit purposes.

  2. renhoekk2 - Apr 25, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    Not sure how it would violate labor law. There are several leagues in each country. If a French player wanted to play in England no one would stop him. He may not be get to play in the BPL but instead have to play in the Championship division. If he feels he’s too good to play there that is his choice. But no one would be denying him the opportunity to ply his trade in England. Plus the rule would work to his benefit as well. There would be fewer international players playing in France so he would have a better chance of making a Ligue 1 team in his home country if top division football is all he is willing to play.

    • dohpey28 - Apr 25, 2014 at 9:54 AM

      What makes it against labor laws is that it is discriminatory. Just as it would be to say each team had to play atleast 5 white players.

    • bostonredsoccer - Apr 25, 2014 at 11:25 AM

      EU labor laws say that anyone holding a member’s passport has free movement across the entire EU and can’t be discriminated against because of his specific nationality. The Bosman ruling confirmed this applies across sports and that leagues can’t set up quotas that count EU citizens differently because of their home countries.

      The EU courts would probably be fine with 6 EU players minimum, but it’s no different than US laws that don’t allow you to treat a Green Card holder any different than a US citizen (in most cases).

  3. 127taringa - Apr 25, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Sounds like something based out of the UN’s Agenda 21 model. Nothing like integrating politics with sport.

  4. bostonredsoccer - Apr 25, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    So Swansea & Cardiff City have to come up with 6 EPL Welshmen each?

  5. egb234 - Apr 25, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    No surprise that an Englishman would support this kind of rule. The English national team has disappointed for years, English academies have diminished in importance, and Chelsea are public enemy number one. This (albeit totally illegal rule) would help on all three fronts!

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