Blat­ter wants for­eign quota

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

ZURICH — Out­go­ing Fifa pres­i­dent Sepp Blat­ter wants Euro­pean foot­ball to look again at stricter lim­its on for­eign­ers, say­ing each club should have six play­ers in their start­ing line­ups who are el­i­gi­ble for the na­tional side.

Although Euro­pean Union law con­sid­ers such lim­its as na­tion­al­ity dis­crim­i­na­tion, Blat­ter be­lieves Rus­sia’s re­cent move to have five play­ers el­i­gi­ble for their na­tional team on the pitch in league games can be copied.

“In my opin­ion this sce­nario re­mains open to western Europe too,” the Swiss wrote in his column for FIFA Weekly.

“The prin­ci­ple of free­dom of move­ment could still be up­held be­cause there are only 11 play­ers on the pitch whereas squads con­tain up to 30 play­ers. It is one thing to have a con­tract but quite another to be on the field of play.

“With a lit­tle good­will we could again take up the idea of quo­tas for for­eign play­ers and se­ri­ously con­sider im­ple­ment­ing it,” he added.

Blat­ter noted that Eng­land’s FA has been keen to ad­dress the short­age of do­mes­tic ta­lent in the Premier League and said his previous at­tempt to bring in a ‘6+5 rule’, aban­doned in 2010, may still be work­able.

“It would have been pos­si­ble to im­ple­ment the change in Europe with the sup­port of the wider foot­ball com­mu­nity,” he wrote.

“In Eng­land in par­tic­u­lar the is­sue is still a topic of much dis­cus­sion as, in or­der for their na­tional team to be able to com­pete at the high­est level again, a cer­tain ‘con­ser­va­tion’ of do­mes­tic play­ers is in­dis­pens­able.”

Blat­ter will step down when a new pres­i­dent of scan­dal-hit Fifa, world soc­cer’s rul­ing body, is elected on Fe­bru­ary 26.

Mean­while, Blat­ter has ac­cused the US jus­tice de­part­ment of por­tray­ing Fifa like a mafia or­gan­i­sa­tion while adding that he will re­veal de­tails of his abrupt de­ci­sion to step down as pres­i­dent of world foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing body when he of­fi­cially de­parts.

Blat­ter will leave Fifa af­ter 40 years at the or­gan­i­sa­tion fol­low­ing the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion at a spe­cial congress in Fe­bru­ary, hav­ing an­nounced his de­par­ture just days af­ter his re-elec­tion in June which co­in­cided with the cor­rup­tion scan­dal that en­gulfed the or­gan­i­sa­tion and led to the ar­rest of 14 of­fi­cials at a Zurich ho­tel.

In­sist­ing that he would one day “tell ex­actly what hap­pened” to prompt his res­ig­na­tion, Blat­ter la­belled the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Fifa as a “tsunami” and crit­i­cised the light in which the or­gan­i­sa­tion was por­trayed by the US at­tor­ney gen­eral, Loretta Lynch.

“Have you seen the press con­fer­ence by [US at­tor­ney gen-

eral] Loretta Lynch? She stood there to­gether with the head of the FBI, por­tray­ing Fifa as an en­ter­prise that re­sem­bles the mafia. What­ever,” said Blat­ter, in an in­ter­view with the Dutch news­pa­per De Volk­skrant.

“Help me to find the truth. This tsunami. This shock­ing raid or what­ever it was... There should be an in­ves­ti­ga­tion as to why this hap­pened two days be­fore the congress. Why were there jour­nal­ists of The New York Times in the lobby of the Baur au Lac ho­tel at 6 o’clock in the morn­ing? They had no rea­son to be there.”

Pressed on whether there was a spe­cific in­ci­dent that pre­cip­i­tated Blat­ter’s res­ig­na­tion, he added: “That is some­thing I wish to keep to my­self. What has hap­pened, will be part of my legacy. It felt highly un­com­fort­able at the time.

“Any­how, we are all sur­vivors and I am sure that it has been the right so­lu­tion for Fifa. It was a good so­lu­tion. I did it to pro­tect the in­sti­tu­tion and my fam­ily against the at­tacks on Fifa, not to pro­tect my­self. I don’t need any help when it comes to my per­sonal in­tegrity.”

— Reuters/guardian

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