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Blatter has Premier League doubts

Sepp Blatter
Blatter was elected Fifa chief in 1998

Fifa president Sepp Blatter is worried that the Premier League's worldwide appeal is damaging the global game.

"I have my concerns because the Premier League is the strongest in the world, definitely," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"It is taking over in such a manner that the other leagues have difficulties to match it."

Blatter also believes that the England's top flight has an unhealthy imbalance of power, with only a handful of clubs contesting the title.

"In a competition where two-thirds or three-quarters of the participants in the league play not to be first, but not to be relegated, there is something wrong," he added.

Since the formation of the Premier League in 1992 there have only been four different winners, compared to six different champions over the previous 16 seasons.

Blatter is also concerned about the influx of foreign players and owners into England's top clubs that has accompanied the Premier League's runaway commercial success.

He said he would attempt to convince Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore to impose a minimum requirement for home-grown talent on the pitch and warned that domestic owners might provide better stewardship through the economic downturn.

"I want to try to, if not persuade him (Richard Scudamore), then at least influence him in his thoughts that to have a minimum of local players will enhance the quality of his league," he said.

"Foreign ownership is definitely a risk, it is not the basis of football, but here we can do nothing.

Where two-thirds or three-quarters of the participants in the league play not to be first, but not to be relegated, there is something wrong

Sepp Blatter on the Premier League
"At the moment in the economic crisis, maybe the big investors and the big companies, will have less money to go in than local or regional investors who will be there because they identify themselves with the club."

And Blatter warned that England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup, a key part of a so-called "golden decade" of sport for the UK, faced serious competition.

Nine other expressions of interest have been made, with Russia and joint bids from Spain and Portugal and the Netherlands and Belgium making up the competition from the rest of Europe.

"What is the advantage of England?" said Blatter.

"If you look at the the technical infrastructure for stadiums and the organisation of football matches on the level of 50,000 people and upwards then they are ready to organise it, but they are not the only one."

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see also
Fifa plans talks on player quotas
26 Feb 09 |  Football
The race to host World Cup 2018
05 Feb 09 |  Internationals
England 2018 Cup rivals confirmed
04 Feb 09 |  Internationals
Scudamore defends ownership test
07 Oct 08 |  Premier League
Platini attacks top-flight set-up
08 Oct 08 |  Football
Blatter stands firm on quota plan
11 Jul 08 |  Football
Foreign owners boost UK football
09 Aug 07 |  Business

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