FIFA members endorse Blatter's 6+5 proposal

Other News Materials 30 May 2008 13:29 (UTC +04:00)

The world's football associations meeting in Sydney on Friday endorsed FIFA president Joseph Blatter's 6+5 proposal to limit the number of foreign players on club teams, reported dpa.

In a vote at the 58th FIFA Congress, 155 associations were in favour of the rule, five against and 40 abstained.

The resolution empowered Blatter to work with European football boss Michel Platini to ensure that in starting sides there are at least six homegrown players and no more than five foreigners.

Blatter and UEFA head Platini are enjoined to explore "all possible means within the limits of the law to ensure that these crucial sporting objectives are achieved."

"Together with the chairman of FIFA's football committee, Mr Franz Beckenbauer and (UEFA's) Michel Platini, we come to this resolution," Blatter said at the congress closing press conference.

Football Federation Australia head Frank Lowy was among those who backed the resolution.

"We have a problem that we are losing lots of players," Lowy told delegates from the 200 countries represented.

"These young boys between 18 and 20 go to these countries, get nowhere, get disappointed and they lose football. We know that we are a growing football nation, and we need all the players we can get."

FIFA faces a challenge to have the proposal approved by the European Union (EU), which in 1995 issued the landmark Bosman ruling, which forced football to end all foreign-player restrictions.

The 27-member EU, through Employment Commissioner Vladimir Spidla, has already given the 6+5 plan the red card.

"If any country allows its soccer associations or leagues (to obey the rule) they will be in violation of EU rules, which oblige the commission to apply infringement proceedings," Spidla was reported as saying in Brussels earlier this week.

Blatter was scheduled to meet with European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering on June 5 in Brussels to discuss the issue.

"We are only asking for a bit of solidarity," Blatter said of his appeal to the EU to accept the 6+5 rule under the rubric of the EU's already agreed "specificity of sport" principle.

"I'm sure it will be done," Blatter said.