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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 November 2007, 08:23 GMT
Ferguson supports Fifa quota plan
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson
Ferguson's United have always had a nucleus of English players
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says he wants to see more homegrown players at English clubs.

Ferguson agrees with Fifa president Sepp Blatter's plans to get a quota on foreign players, an opinion which is set to rile both Arsenal and Liverpool.

"For the good of the game in England, it would be good to see more home-based players at the top clubs," he said.

"I totally agree [with Blatter], but there would be opposition from clubs like Liverpool and Arsenal."

You couldn't make it law - it would have to be an agreement between the clubs

Sir Alex Ferguson

He added in Inside United magazine: "It's certainly not wrong that clubs should be seen to have a proportion of home-based players.

"You want to protect your own, and there is nothing wrong with that and that's why Arsenal will protest the loudest.

"United's critics would say 'It's all right for you, you already have English players in your side'. But I think if you asked a neutral, they would rather see more home-based players."

Blatter wants clubs to be limited to five foreigners in their starting XI to allow homegrown talent to flourish.


The Premier League says under EU law it would not be possible, but Ferguson, who celebrates 21 years as United boss on Tuesday, believes there is a way around the legal system.

"Under the present Treaty of Rome you couldn't make it law - it would have to be an agreement between the clubs," said the 65-year-old Scot.

"But if it went to a vote, I think it would get through, even though there would be opposition from the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal, who have strong Spanish and French connections.

"It would certainly be a contentious issue but I agree with the principle of it."

It won't protect the best players, it will protect the mediocre ones and you don't win a World Cup with mediocre players

Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has already responded to Blatter's proposals by saying such a move would "kill the Premier League".

He said in an interview with Arsenal's club magazine: "I find the whole proposal completely ridiculous.

"The thinking behind it, I believe, is to protect the national teams. But it won't protect the best players, it will protect the mediocre ones and you don't win a World Cup with mediocre players, you win it with world-class ones.

"The best English players - the Rooneys, the Owens, the Gerrards, the Lampards - they are all playing for their clubs anyway.

"Fifa are wrong if they think this will improve international football. Look at rugby, for example. The Argentina national team - all their players play in Europe, and the national team takes advantage of that. Had they all stayed in Argentina, would they have made the semi-finals [of the World Cup]?

"To mix the best with the best makes everyone better.

"I am worried that it could happen. I would say that it's more than 50% likely to be brought in.

"Fifa is powerful enough to implement the rule internally, if Blatter has the support of the council and his committees. Will it go through or not, I do not know but it looks as though it could."

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