Fifa vote for 'six-plus-five'

Blatter wants controversial system in place by 2012

Fifa have voted in favour of the 'six-plus-five' rule which would place restrictions on foreign players.

The president of football's world governing body, Sepp Blatter, hopes to see the initiative implemented by the 2012/13 season.

The ruling would limit the number of overseas players any one team can field in their starting XI to just five.

Fifa have grown increasingly concerned by the number of foreign stars infiltrating Europe's top leagues, with the English Premier League standing out as the most obvious example.

Despite fears from the European Union that the introduction of the rule would contravene freedom of movement regulations, Blatter insists that Fifa would proceed "within the limits of the law".


"It's to make sure that there is better balance in the competitions and not only three or four teams in a league of 18 or 20 are fighting to be the champion and all the others are just there to not be relegated," said Blatter.

"As (Newcastle manager) Kevin Keegan recently said: 'I can only start my season to fight to be fifth or sixth or seventh. It is impossible for me to go into the final four'.

"At the end of the Champions League in Europe you have in the quarter-finals four teams of the same association; in the semi-finals three of these teams.

"Then in the final you are surprised that you have two teams of the same association?

"We want to bring some remedies and this is the six-plus-five rule's objective."


While Fifa are keen to push on with the idea, Uefa are still calling for a rival 'home-grown' player system to be introduced.

Uefa defines 'home-grown players' as team members who, regardless of age or nationality, have been trained by their club or by another club in the National Association for at least three years between the ages of 15 and 21.

The EU have already given their backing to this concept as it contains no conditions based on nationality and would prefer to see Fifa back down with their controversial proposal.

"Compared with the intentions announced by FIFA to impose the so-called '6-plus-5 rule', which is directly discriminatory and therefore incompatible with the EU law, the 'home-grown players' rule proposed by UEFA seems to me to be proportionate and to comply with the principle of free movement of workers," said EU Commissioner Vladimir Spidla.