Blatter set to take on EU for foreign player quotas

Last updated at 10:42 05 October 2007

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has launched a drive to change European law on sport to allow football's authorities to impose limits on foreign players in teams.

The issue of sport is on the agenda at the EU summit in Lisbon on October 18 and 19 and both FIFA and the IOC are demanding sport be given the power to organise their own competitions.

Currently, the EU say that imposing quotas - such as a maximum of five foreigners in a team, as Blatter would like to see - would breach laws on employment and free movement of labour.

Blatter believes that stance should be challenged.

He said today: "This is a matter of principle and we need to protect the national identity of the football clubs.

"This has several advantages - it will increase the possibility of players educated in the club to have access to the first team.

"That can have a direct impact, as it will be much cheaper for a club if you have your own educated players.

"The EU say that this is not possible based on free circulation of workers but in football principles are different - footballers are not workers and you must be 11 players not one.

"When you have 11 foreigners in a team, this is not good for the development of football.

"Football has never had the courage to go against this practice but it must now."

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