Fifa President Sepp Blatter seems determined to press ahead with his plan to limit the number of foreign players in a starting XI to five, despite opposition from Uefa and the EU.
According to the BBC, a Fifa “official” said:
Blatter doesn’t want a war with Uefa or to anger the EU but this is a point of principle for him. When he became president he made a promise on this and he sees this as a major legacy of his time in office. He believes he can get a gentleman’s agreement with all the national associations.
Blatter has come up with some pretty hair-brained schemes before, and while this one may have started with the best intentions it’ll probably never get off the ground as it contravenes EU law – and even if it did would it actually work?
The general consensus of opinion is that the number of ‘foreign’ players in the game is stunting the growth and development of home-grown players and therefore in the case of England, the national side. There is definitely an element of truth to that, but it is also one of the reasons why the Premier League is arguably the best in Europe.
The way I see it the real problem is expecting club sides to cure the problems of the national team.
Managers are paid to deliver immediate results. There are some notable exceptions but more often than not a club manager will not be in his job long enough to worry about what sort of players they can bring through five or ten years down the line, so to a certain extent you can’t really blame them for planning short-term.
I would rather see the FA invest time and money into ventures like Burton, and teach English players how to play the game at a young age. It worked for France, it’s working for Holland, it would work for us.
It is a cultural change and patience that is needed, not some sort of draconian law.