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EU opposes FIFA player quotas- 29 May 2008 07:45:00

The European Union has launched a stinging rebuke against FIFA’s proposal to introduce foreign player quotas at football clubs, branding the move as discriminatory and illegal.

Reacting to the announcement with FIFA president Sepp Blatter was pressing forward with his plans for a  ‘six plus five’ approach to the number of foreign players allowed in a team,  Vladimir Spidla, Europe's Commissioner for Equal Opportunities, commented: ‘We're giving red card to the rule.’

The Commission believes a quota on foreign footballers would be incompatible with European Union law which allows workers from the EU to move freely between member countries.

Despite opposition from the EU, Blatter expects the plan to be endorsed by FIFA delegates at the ruling body's congress later this week.

European governing body UEFA is also against Blatter’s plans but has had some success in pushing through legislation backed by the EU with regard to player quotas.

In contrast, the ‘home-grown players’ rule which is set to be expanded from next season so that eight players in a Champions League or UUEFA Cup squad must have been developed by the club has received EU backing.

To be eligible, a player of any nationality must have been developed by the club for three years between the ages of 15 and 21.

Jan Figel, EU Commissioner for Education, Training and Youth, said UEFA's proposals did not discriminate against nationality and encouraged clubs to develop their academies.

‘Measures which require the top European clubs to preserve quality training structures seem to me to be necessary,’ said Figel.

‘The UEFA rule thus avoid the risk of professional football clubs abandoning training structures.’

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