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Thursday, 24 October, 2002, 16:39 GMT 17:39 UK
Time for a foreign quota?
Marcel Desailly is one of a many overseas stars at Chelsea
Fifa and Uefa are planning new moves to limit the number of foreigners playing in domestic football.

Would a foreign quota be good for the game?


This debate is now closed.


As well as a limit on overseas players - a maximum of five per team - Uefa also wants a specified percentage of clubs' first-team squads to have come up through their youth system.

Both schemes - particularly the foreign quota - could have a dramatic effect on clubs such as Chelsea, who have in the past fielded a full team of foreigners.

The Premiership is awash with talent from around the world, but many feel that some clubs are opting for cheaper foreign players over home-grown talent - restricting the development of future England stars.

Do you support plans to limit the number of overseas players?


A great idea and long overdue. But it should be all sports! Nations should be taking steps, not football bodies. Cricket makes it work, why shouldn't football.


You have to agree in principle with the concept of playing more home-grown players
Ian McAinsh, Coatbridge

Apart from that, the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea have only themselves to blame. The cheque book rules as an easier option than nurturing our own youngsters. It hasn't been true English football for ages, but now it's got right out of hand.
Tony Varney, Thailand

You have to agree in principle with the concept of playing more home-grown players. However, this could be a problem for fans of the more successful teams who can afford to sign big-name foreign players each season.

Would you want to be a Arsenal or Man Utd fan and have to see several of your best players either warming the bench or moving away just because they weren't born here!?! Neither would I!

Without a doubt it would eventually result in a better standard of player which would benefit the national teams. Scotland would be especially thankful for this as many of the players who are selected for our national team struggle to get much first team action...although under the new ruling this would be even less likely if they were playing outwith Scotland!!

It is good idea in principle but I can't see it working!!
Ian McAinsh, Coatbridge, Scotland


As it is, the teams with most money come out top - it's as simple as that
Jenny, England

This one ranks up there alongside adding sacks of bricks to Schumacher's Ferrari. Why guarantee places to the mediocre player, rather than encourage the potentially world-class?

And where would this leave the African nations, who have benefited from their players' development in European teams? The Mad Blatter, indeed. Fifa and Uefa are intent on holding back the clubs so that they have more pointless internationals to wear their blazers at.
John, England

A foreign quota would make football far fairer. As it is, the teams with most money come out top - it's as simple as that. Do we really know how good Wenger and Ferguson are as managers? If Gordon Strachan had 50m to spend every year he would do pretty well in the Premiership as well.

Truly great managers are people like Brian Clough and Bobby Robson who had domestic and European success on limited budgets and who got the best out of players who perhaps wouldn't have succeeded elsewhere.
Jenny, England

I think it's a good idea as long as it fits in with EU regulations and laws. Liverpool and United would be fine by the new law, but Arsenal and Chelsea would be in trouble...and that's got to be a good thing.


Why change a winning formula?
Steve, England

United and Liverpool are the two greatest clubs in English footballing history and they still have British backbones to their sides. For United, Veron, Forlan and Fortune would be the only 'foreigners'. I'm sure they wouldn't be missed if need be!
Aaron, England

It's another half-baked idea from 'The Mad Blatter'. But I suppose it might be fun to see the top teams struggle to field a team of Englishmen just now. It's not just the always-vilified Chelsea who'd struggle. Liverpool and Man Utd usually have five each.
Nigel, UK

The Premiership is one of the best leagues in the world and players want to play here. Why change a winning formula?
Steve, England

It's a problem that's about to regulate itself. The present financial situation of most clubs outside the Premiership and some of those in it will mean that soon foreign players will be a luxury for the top clubs.

The clubs with good youth training policies and maybe foreign coaches will win out in the end. The inflated wage demands of foreign players are unsustainable by clubs that are relegated from the Premiership.
Lawrence Taylor, Japan


Restricting the numbers and movement of foreign players is not in line with the EU manifest
Dick Yoong, Malaysia

While in theory a good idea, it is totally illegal in EU law as EU citizens have the right to work in any EU country without discrimination. Unless football can be exempted from this, this idea is dead in the water.
Anthony, UK

A great idea. After all, my team, Dundee United, regularly field a team that is made up entirely of Scots. It would close the gap in Scotland between the big two and the rest of us.
Ricky Price, Scotland

I thought the whole idea of forming the EU was to encourage unity amongst Europeans. Restricting the numbers and movement of foreign players is not in line with the EU manifest. The quota plan will not benefit the clubs, the fans or the TV sponsors.
Dick Yoong, Malaysia

The argument that foreigners are preventing our youngsters coming through and adding to the "inadequacies" of the national side seem a little far-fetched.

The national team hasn't done anything since 1966. I wasn't around in the 70s, but I don't believe there were a huge number of foreigners in our leagues then.
Tom, England


Football is entertainment, not a charity case for British footballers
Chris C, Wales

I think it's a great idea to limit the number of foreign players but I'm not so sure about the youth players idea. The chances are that once you limit the number of foreigners the youngsters will get a chance anyway.

I feel that it would do our national game a great deal of good. You look at France and then have great young players coming through all the time. This is because the youngsters get a chance to prove themselves in the French league as it is not so popular and thus the top foreign players don't want to play there.

It's the same in Argentina and Brazil and they both have great national teams. The idea could only help England in the long run and probably Scotland as well.
Andrew Jackson, UK

If this plan goes ahead then of course Ryan Giggs should be classed as foreign. After all, Wales have their own national side. Personally, I don't think there should be any restrictions. If English players didn't have such dodgy technical skills they would force their way in anyway.
Nick Toye, UK

Football is entertainment, not a charity case for British footballers. It's up to those British footballers and younger players to fight for that place in the team.
Chris C, Wales

I don't think it's ridiculous at all. Five imports in a squad is perhaps too little, but the idea about players who have come through the youth system is great. This could only benefit the game, both at club level and international.


It's a great idea to get back to promoting and developing local talent
Ewen, France

This way you would get more players playing for their position, rather than paycheque foreigners whose passion for the club or game is rarely there. No wonder Gooners would be panicking about this - which five French players would you keep?
Leeds Expat, Australia

It's a great idea to get back to promoting and developing local talent. The sooner it comes in the better. It will also help to reduce the huge debts due to the inflated salaries of some of the foreign "superstars".
Ewen, France

Gooner Bob (below) is right to an extent. However, there is an overriding amount of average foreign "talent" we could do without. With the tightening of cash we should see more nationally valuable players gracing the premier league.
Red Tom, USA

It's very sad that we don't produce enough home grown players with the ability to play for England, but limiting the amount of overseas players playing in the Premiership wont raise the standard of British football. If you're good enough you will play for club and country. If not, you can at least learn from some of the best players in the world.
Gooner Dave, UK

Good idea, but it will need to be thought about. The foreign players are good for the game, but we do need a rule to come in to stop teams fielding sides with few or even no English players at all. It will also take years for the rule to come in to effect, because teams need time to implement it.
Nick, UK

I think there are far too many foreigners in the English game. Having five in the side doesn't restrict the influence good players can have on the youngsters in England. It might also make managers think about the quality they are signing.

There are too many wasters from abroad earning a good wage, at the expense of young home grown talent. The Gooner must realise having two English players in the side is not the way forward for the English game as a whole.
mark, Australia


It's a good idea, but you've got to wonder how something like this could be enforced in today's climate
John, London
We should have always had a limit on how many foreign players there are in the Premiership. It doesn't encourage our home grown talent to compete at a high level. There are so many good youngsters around and they should be given the chance to play first team football.
Gemma Baldwin, England

It's a terrible idea. Why doesn't Uefa concentrate on the important issues of the game, like racism and lack of money for smaller clubs?
Brownie, UK

It's a good idea, but you've got to wonder how something like that can be enforced in today's climate. This would mean a lot of top clubs selling a large number of their foreign players, and with the money problems the game experiencing at the moment, who would be ready to buy them?
John, London

Gooner Bob (below) would think it's ridiculous to restrict foreign players, after all how many English or British players do Arsenal and Chelsea have between them? Could they even make a full squad of English players between them?

There is no doubt that foreign players have added to the Premiership, and Arsenal have done well with all their foreign players, but can the same be said of Chelsea?

At last Uefa & Fifa are looking at giving the youngsters of England, Wales and Scotland the chance of playing for a top flight team, which will also benefit the national sides!
Mike, Manchester, England

Does this mean that players like Ryan Giggs will be classed as foreign? Any rule change should not apply to home country players, but I do think it is a good idea to have some restrictions. Having said that, there is also no doubt that players such as Bergkamp, De Canio et al have had a good effect for our game.
The Colonel, UK


Foreign players have contributed to the quality of football in the Premier League - but at the expense of home grown players
Mike Anderson, Thailand

I think it's a wonderful idea. Let's face it, five foreign stars per team is enough. With England's current inadequacies on show for all to see - particularly in midfield - perhaps greater emphasis will be placed on home grown talent. Do we really want to go the way of the Spanish league?
Matthew, Englishman in Japan!

I think it's a cracking idea. As Bob (below) says, top quality foreign imports can only benefit our young players - that is if they are ever given the chance to play. Anyway, weren't the restrictions on the number of foreign players lifted in the first place because it contravened European freedom of work laws?
Chris Webster, UK

There may be many problems if a quota on foreign players is implemented. As an ardent Manchester United Fan, I can remember when such a rule existed in the Champions League. This resulted in United having to restrict the number of none English players appearing - including the likes of Hughes and Giggs (Welsh), Keane and Irwin (Irish) and McClair (Scottish).

That is before you look at the non-British players. How many English teams could field a first team (including Subs) with six top flight English players. Not many!
Stephen, Manchester, England

Foreign players have contributed to the quality of football in the Premier League - but at the expense of home grown players and youth policies. Surely five foreign players is enough for any club.

Once the Premiership bubble bursts and spectators lose interest in transient foreigners and unfaithful players, the way forward will be youth players and loyal home grown youngsters.
Mike Anderson, Thailand

I don't think it really matters what we think. The EC will rule out any rules based on nationality and any youth system rules will be unenforceable. That probably won't stop Fifa and Uefa trying though.

Personally, I really enjoy seeing the top foreign players in the league and I think it keeps the British players sharp.
Jon King, Cambs, UK

I think it is a ridiculous idea. Having talented foreign imports playing in British football can only be beneficial to the team - the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and other gifted players must take a lot of credit for teaching home-grown youngsters their skills.
Gooner Bob, London

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24 Oct 02 | Football
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