BBC Sport football


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 20:35 GMT, Thursday, 26 February 2009

SPL sanguine on player quota idea

Madjid Bougherra and Scott McDonald
Madjid Bougherra and Scott McDonald are among the Old Firm's foreign imports

The Scottish Premier League insists it is in good shape to cope with any possible limit imposed on the number of foreign players.

Fifa is planning new talks with the European Commission on their proposal to allow no more than five overseas players in a club's starting XI.

"It could be said that we are ahead of this game," SPL executive chairman Lex Gold told BBC Scotland.

"We would broadly, as a nation, meet those rules."

Fifa's "6+5" rule was approved by 155 of the organisation's member nations last year.

But the European Commission believes a quota on foreign players would be incompatible with EU law as it amounts to discrimination at work and a restriction on the free movement of workers.

"Fifa has been keen to see this adopted for some time now - it's based on nationality," explained Gold. "Uefa take a different approach and are trying to push for a home-grown talent rule, which they use in their own competitions.

"Under those conditions, your A squad would need a squad of 25, of whom eight would be home-grown and four of which must be indigenous.

"Given the European Union rules on employment, in my judgement, the home-grown talent rule sits with that more happily than the Fifa requirements. But they're both seeking to achieve the same end.

"When we set up the SPL, not only did we have Under-21 rules, we also had no reserve league and an Under-21 league. That has since been modified as we brought through young Scottish talent.

"There's nothing there for us to fear. One or two clubs may have to look at each Saturday on the balance."

The SPL commissioned 'a snapshot' of the league in December and 61% of the players involved were Scottish, 16% from the rest of the UK and the Republic of Ireland, 17% from Europe, while 6% came from the rest of the world.


Last May, BBC Scotland research found that only half of the clubs in the SPL supported Fifa's plan to limit a team's foreign players to five.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter wants to implement the new quota system for the 2013/14 season.

But only six of Scotland's top clubs were willing to endorse the idea with four against and two undecided.

At that time, Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith, while not wholly endorsing it, thought the proposal would help Scotland's national team.

Tony Higgins, head of education at the world players' union Fifpro, remains sceptical about any changes.

"There is no chance it will come through in the timeframe suggested," the former Hibs player told BBC Scotland.

"The bottom line is if the European Commission is opposed to it, this is won't go anywhere. And they clearly say the Fifa ruling is against the free movement of labour.

"And, if this is only going to impact on Europe, why are rest of Fifa countries voting?

"Fifa president Sepp Blatter is going for another term after the 2010 World Cup. I've no doubt this is part of the package; saying he's trying to improve world football.

"At that level, politics dominates and it's a popular move with the various national federations, since it enhances their power."

In the last Old Firm clash, Celtic started the match with four Scots, while Rangers had six and the most recent Edinburgh derby in the SPL saw both Hibs and Hearts kick off with four Scots.

Print Sponsor

see also
Fifa plans talks on player quotas
26 Feb 09 |  Football
Blatter stands firm on quota plan
11 Jul 08 |  Football
SPL split over Fifa quota plans
31 May 08 |  Scottish Premier
Smith sees positives in Fifa idea
30 May 08 |  Scotland

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.