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By ESPN Staff

Donev: Foreigners are stifling local talent

SOFIA, Jan 18 (Reuters) - The number of foreigners in the Bulgarian league should be reduced to give local players more opportunities to hone their skills, Bulgarian football players' association president Doncho Donev said on Friday.

'I have nothing against foreign players but I think there are too many of them in our championship,' Donev told Bulgarian newspaper 7 dni sport on Friday.

A record 84 overseas players took part in the first half of the Bulgarian championship this season, with 11 foreigners helping CSKA Sofia to the top of the standings.

'We want the number of players, coming from countries outside the European Union, to be cut from five to three from next season,' Donev said.

'They (foreign players) also should meet requirements, like it is in England, for example.

'They should be coming from their country's leading clubs or they should have played matches in their national teams.'

Donev blamed the trend for clubs to look overseas to bolster their squads for Bulgaria's failure to qualify for the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008 finals.

'We'll to have to find the right balance,' Donev added.