Blatter wants foreign quota
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.”