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Blatter plan laudable but unworkable

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Fifa president Sepp Blatter's 'six-plus-five' plan to limit the number of foreign players is plausible in a perfect world - which is exactly why it is a non-starter.

It is a fact that most football fans would love to watch a team dominated by home-grown stars, but the the brutal truth is they love successful teams even more.

Throw in the fact that the European Commission have already stated that it regards the ruling as discriminatory and illegal and you can see why Blatter has an unwinnable fight on his hands.

The Football Association chief executive Brian Barwick has been lukewarm in his response to Blatter's latest initiative, which is no great surprise.

Offer any football supporter the choice of having an average English - or Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish - player in their side or a better alternative from abroad and there will be only one winner.

And rightly so.

Blatter's notion is laudable but unworkable. It would take a change in the European Union laws coupled with a huge change in philosophy within the game, and neither shows any sign of happening.

Fifa's chief insists he does not want confrontation and will work to apply any rule changes within the law, but it is impossible to see how he will achieve his aims.

The biggest talking point is whether the current influx of foreign imports is blocking the system that allows young home-grown talent to come through.

This investigation by BBC Sport England player numbers at new low revealed that the number of England-qualified players starting in the Premier League dropped to an all-time low last season.

But surely the simple fact is that if young English players are good enough they will emerge from the system?

And if they are not good enough and don't come through, isn't this just a simple, but harsh, fact of football life?

David Bentley's experience at Arsenal is used as an example of how foreign players can create a barrier to the emergence of young English talent.

Bentley spoke eloquently to BBC Sport about the problem here Academy influx concerns Bentley but he left Arsenal and eventually arrived at Blackburn, via a loan season at Norwich.

He has won England caps since arriving at Ewood Park and is now being linked with clubs such as Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool.

Bentley may be an example of a player whose arrival at the top was delayed by foreign imports, but he is also proof that genuine talent will surface eventually.

And he also admits the tutelage he received under Arsene Wenger at Arsenal made him a better person and player - despite the fact he could not break into the first team.

So we are back to the old argument about players being picked on quality as opposed to nationality.

This is certainly the view of Barwick, who states simply that players should be in teams purely on merit. No other criteria should apply.

Barwick is absolutely right, and this is even before Blatter attempts to negotiate what is already a legal minefield.

So while Blatter's plan is based on good intentions, the chances of it actually coming to pass are minimal - and I believe this is right.

Let us know your thoughts on this issue.

Do you believe there should be a limit on foreign players in a starting eleven? And do any of you legal eagles out there know how Blatter can make his plan come down on the right side of EU law?

Latest 10 comments

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posted Jul 11, 2008

Blatter, for the sake of everyone that watches and enjoys football, please resign! All the fans in england see is someone needlessly interfering with the premier league. It is the best league in the world, and for good reason. Stop trying to bring it down!

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posted Jul 11, 2008

Blatter is losing his mind and soon his job smiley)

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posted Jul 11, 2008

this should be brought in...there are limits on the number of foreign players in rugby and cricket and it works fine, so there should be the same for football too

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posted Jul 11, 2008

blatter is doing English football the biggest favour than any foreign players or managers do.
I tell you why;will help you to discover players like linekers,platts,gazzas,adams,cambells,gerards,lampards,rooneys,owens,beckhams.
why you allways think foreign players are better.Yes they have more skills but the English have the stamina and the discipline to compete at highest level.Forget about statistics. I watch Premier Leauge for years and I tell you what, English(home grown)players are more genuine,full hearted,committed and hungrier.Look at the FA cup matches so great for football. Every leauge give their all with the so called big boys.please dont spoil the game.fotball should not be a rich mans toy or sport.When Enland won the World cup how many foreign players did you have? how many star players you had.for the sake of the game and future of English football listen to Mr. Blatter.look at Leeds, look at Arsenal and Chealsea.Money does not bring success.Discipline and commitments do.Well done Mr.Ferguson he won cups with more home grown talents.I bet anyone Arsenal wont make the first FOUR this year.they should let Wallcot go. where he can play week in week out. Same as Rooney. wake up you all. Stop working for BIG FAT owners.Work for your country.

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posted Jul 12, 2008

Blatter is nothing more than a pen pusher ad knows nothing about the game...

Appoint Becenbaur now!

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posted Jul 14, 2008

I think Peterfromsweden is confused, Players are at work if they are on the pitch or not.

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posted Apr 22, 2009

Just my own thoughts on the 6+5 rule. Obviously this would mean that some teams would be dramatically effected by not being able to play all their best players at a time and it wouldn't be manageable as club football should have nothing to do with nationality, thats what the internationals are for, but I do agree that the national teams could suffer.

Would a better alternative be to make clubs have at least 10 outfield players and 1 goalkeeper from the country the club is based in in their first team?

This would mean that clubs wouldn't nessesarily have to play all of them all the time but they would gain experience from playing with the best players from all over the world.

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posted Apr 22, 2009

6+5 rule? Complete nonsense. Any true footy fan will want his side to field the very best 11 players they can - regardless of where they come from ....

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posted Apr 22, 2009

Yeah, if your an Arsenal supporter!

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