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Blatter Persisting With '6+5' Rule

  • Reuters, Tuesday, December 2, 2008 2 PM
FIFA President Sepp Blatter is pushing ahead with his efforts to introduce a rule requiring soccer clubs to field no more than five foreign players, despite repeat warnings from the European Union that it will contravene EU law, writes Mark Ledsom.

Blatter said Monday he was "satisfied" by an informal meeting in Biarritz last week that brought together top sports officials and European sports ministers, and that he was "delighted by the unanimous agreement voiced by the 27 European sports ministers on the need for dialogue and discussion of the '6+5' rule while respecting its compatibility with EU law."

But EU Commissioners Jan Figel and Vladimir Spidla wrote to Reuters that while they sympathized with FIFA's concerns, they "differ about the means to achieve it. Our position is clear: FIFA's '6+5' rule is based on direct discrimination on the grounds of nationality and is thus against one of the fundamental principles of EU law."

The Commissioners were also skeptical about proposals by European soccer's governing body UEFA to ban the international transfers of players age under 18. Figel and Spidla said such a ban could "constitute indirect discrimination ... and be disproportionate in light of the objectives pursued."



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