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By ESPN Staff
Apr 29, 2008

Blatter: Fans back restrictions on foreigners

FIFA president Sepp Blatter believes fans would back restricting the number of foreign players on club teams to five in order to benefit their national sides. The world governing body chief wants there ultimately to be six homegrown players in each side and intends to impose what is known as the six-plus-five rule by 2011. Blatter told BBC Radio Five Live: 'Club football at the beginning had a local identity, later a regional and now (with) some of the leagues - I am speaking here about the big clubs of the Premier League - there is no more national identity. 'And I think if you ask the fans they will want to see the national team players playing in the top clubs of the league in the country concerned. 'I am sure everybody is in favour of a strong national team and therefore we should approach and impose such a solution which is why I am going to the congress to propose a six-plus-five rule to be implemented in the future to be decided after 2010/11. 'Meaning that the starting 11 shall have six players eligible to play for the national team of the country that the club is playing in.' While he acknowledges the success of the Premier League, Blatter believes the monopoly of just a few clubs is not conducive to the development of the game in England with the national team failing to qualify for Euro 2008. 'You have all four participants in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and I think this is not the direct solution,' he continued. 'Please ask the fans - in England especially - if they like the national team and they are happy their national team have not qualified for this year's European Championships. 'This is a problem that is worth being discussed and if there is a general consensus in the congress, then we will implement that for the good of the game. 'Because the game is open to everybody, not only something for the rich clubs and therefore I am sure the idea will balance out a competition. 'If you go to the Premier League - which is a wonderful competition - something is wrong if only four or five teams are fighting for the title and all the others are happy not to be relegated because something is wrong in the essence of football.' Blatter also insists the proposal can be implemented legally. 'The law is the one thing but it can be adapted, amended, if there is a general consensus. 'I feel in Europe and especially in countries that are members of the European Union, that they are in favour of such a rule because they are also in favour of a very strong national team. 'And therefore the idea is not to go into a struggle against existing laws, like the European Union law. 'The European Union is only part of the world and they are not lawmakers for the entire world.'