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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 February, 2005, 13:52 GMT
Uefa sets foreign player limits
Uefa president Lennart Johansson
Uefa president Lennart Johansson wants to restrict foreign players
Uefa has announced clubs competing in the Champions League and Uefa Cup will have to include four homegrown players in their 25-man squad from 2006.

Europe's governing body also wants to implement the plan in domestic leagues but that will have to be agreed by each national association.

Uefa then wants six homegrown players by 2007 and eight in 2008.

Of the eight, at least four must be trained by the club's own academy and the rest in the home country.

Uefa defines a club-trained player as one who has been registered for a minimum of three seasons with the club between the age of 15 and 21.

Of the 32 sides in last season's Champions League, five clubs would have not had enough homegrown players to meet the requirement of eight under the eventual new ruling.

They are: Arsenal, Chelsea, Celtic, Rangers and Ajax.

Uefa's 52 member associations will vote on whether the same rule should apply to domestic competitions at a Congress in Tallinn, Estonia in April.

There has already been strong opposition voiced by the Premier League and the Italian federation.

But Uefa chief executive Lars-Christer Olsson said: "We think this is a reasonable compromise based on all the consultations we have had.

"Although we have had negative responses from some leagues and some bigger clubs in those leagues, all the others involved have been very supportive of this idea.

"We also think the proposal is legal, because it is a sporting rule, not as a restriction, to develop and promote young players."

But a Premier League spokesman said: "Uefa clearly believes they have a robust-enough legal position to introduce the changes within their competitions.

"However, it is extremely unlikely that such a rule change will be introduced in our domestic competition."


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