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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 November 2007, 16:30 GMT
EU to block Blatter's quota plan
By David Ornstein

Sepp Blatter
Blatter has previously said he'll challenge the EU to ensure a quota on foreign players
Fifa president Sepp Blatter's hopes of reducing the number of foreign players competing in European leagues appear unlikely to materialise.

The European Commission is considering imposing a quota on clubs to ensure they employ a minimum number of "home-grown" players.

But provided these players are permitted to work in the European Union, their nationality is irrelevant.

The EC says imposing quotas on EU nationals is "direct discrimination".

Blatter claimed on Tuesday that the EU is to adopt a number of processes to "stop the overwhelming presence of non-national players in club leagues" in its new Reform Treaty.

He added that sport was set to gain the power to police its own members, meaning Fifa would be able to have a say in how many foreign players are allowed at any one club.

But the Commission - the EU's executive branch - rejected Blatter's comments.


A spokesperson told BBC Sport that in the Treaty, which is set to be signed in December, freedom of movement legislation would not be altered and that no exceptions are to be granted to sports federations.

The only restrictions enforceable on clubs, therefore, are those already in place under current Uefa guidelines, which state that in Uefa club competitions every squad must contain six "locally trained players" or have their list of 25 players reduced accordingly.

Next season each club must name eight players who have been locally trained.

The term locally-trained players is made up of three "association-trained players," who are affiliated to the domestic national association and three "club-trained players", who have been registered with their club for three years between the ages of 15 and 21.

"Quotas on EU national players are direct discrimination," said the EC spokesperson. "Whether you are a goalkeeper or a factory worker - as long as you receive a salary - you are a worker.

"Therefore, you have the right to move and work freely within the European Union and this right must be granted also to football players.

"However, the Commission is in constant dialogue with Fifa, Uefa and other relevant sports organisations and recognises that there is an issue about home-grown players.

"The Commission is examining if it could be justified for clubs to hire a certain quota of players whom they have trained from a very young age.

"As this concerns the investment of clubs in players irrespective of their nationality, there would be no direct discrimination."

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