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Hunger is back at Barca

Barcelona
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By ESPN Staff

Sports minister wants foreign impact assessed

Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe has called for an independent inquiry into whether the number of foreign players in the Premier League is having a detrimental effect on the England team.

Sutcliffe believes the balance between English and overseas players is wrong at present, although he stopped short of backing the quota system proposed by FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

'I understand the complexities of the issues around freedom of movement and competition issues, but it just doesn't feel we have got the balance right at the moment and that we need to look at what is possible,' Sutcliffe told the Times.

'And we may need to have some sort of independent look at what needs to happen. But, again, you have to do that with football and you don't want to disturb the balances that are there in terms of the success of the sport.

'We have got the best league in the world and it's great that we have got the talent that is there in terms of the Premier League. But obviously we need to see how that impacts on and affects the national team.

'And it is not just in the home countries, it is in Europe as well. We need to have a look at what is going on there, what the impact is on national teams. And so I have been talking to football about that.'