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FIFA and UEFA plan joint attack on Arsenal

Fifa – the organisation of which a US judge famously said that they “lied and lied again in court” claims that it has now worked out a way of restricting the number of foreign players in each team, while staying within the rules of the European Union.   It wants to talk to the European Commission to discuss plans to bring its new idea to fruition.

The plan is to stop clubs fielding more than five non-nationals in a starting team. Non-nationals means players such as Ramsey.  He’s a non-national despite being a UK citizen, and Cesc is a non-national because he holds an EU passport not issued in the UK.

The notorious six plus five rule was approved by most of FIFA’s members last year, but on the face it of clearly represents discrimination in the workplace.  If it became law it would mean that I, as an employer, could say that I want a certain number of jobs in my business to go to English people, and then later to Scots, and only after that to French people.

The FIFA approach is getting around this rule by calling it “a rule of the game” – meaning that just as FIFA can declare how the offside rule works, so it can declare who can play the game.

Clearly some people at the Ems support this approach, and have been waving St George flags to show it.   But it would cause difficulties for Arsenal if introduced on a purely national basis, without allowance for the length of time that the player has been in England.

Arsenal are also in danger of being hammered by UEFA.  UEFA are trying to stop movement of players under 18 from one country to another (and that would again affect Ramsey, since Wales is another country in UEFA terms) while FIFA want six English players in the starting team.   Both would undermine the notion of sustainability established by Arsenal, and would ensure that more and more clubs move into more and more debt as they attempt to buy success by buying over 18 year old English players for ever higher fees.

The story however is rather old.  In 1910 Scotland refused to pick players who were Scottish by birth but were playing for Woolwich Arsenal – having walked to London in order to find work in the armaments factories.  99 years on the fight against Arsenal by any means possible continues.

(c) Tony Attwood 2009

PS: Don’t forget Highbury High this saturday – new edition out from the usual guys in the road and on the steps.

7 comments to FIFA and UEFA plan joint attack on Arsenal

  • NYmarcus

    I don’t think we gooners–or anyone else–needs to worry about FIFA’s 6+5 measure.

    As this columnist points out, it’s all based on a lot of hot air:

    http:// community. foxsports.com/blogs/BobbyMcMahon/2009/02/26/The_Weekend_Preview_well_not_really

    I’ve deliberately broken up that link.

    The report that came out today that supposedly claims the 6+5 rule does not violate EU anti-discrimination rules is a FIFA report, not a EU report. So it’s just FIFA claiming this 6+5 rule as a “football rule” and that it doesn’t violate any EU laws. There is no sign that the EU will see it the way FIFA does.

    The UEFA 18 year old rule, however, may have legs, tho I think there will be a fight from the big clubs.

  • Don't believe the hype

    Do you think this rule is also a way to undermine the success of English clubs in Europe? Platini is not happy about that, and if top 4 clubs are forced to find 6 decent English players each, there will be losers! Although we have a lot of young English players coming through, they will not be ready for the top level for a while and we don’t have the money to throw around buying what would become even more over-priced players because of their passports. Also, what happens if a lot of your English players are injured at the same time – do you forfeit games because you can’t field a team that meets the requirements? This is the thin end of the wedge and because of the financial crisis and the protectionism that usually goes hand in hand with difficult times, it could well come to pass. It’s sickening, reactionary and should not be justifiable in the 21st Century.

  • ggs

    The funny thing is in the match between Inter and WC Milan, there was ZERO italian players in the Inter side.

  • MOMONEY

    STupid idea stupid rule… However I feel like the future of England is Walcott/ Wilshere so cant be too bad for us immediately

  • Marc

    Of course this is an attack on English teams success in the CL. There aren’t 6 world class English players currently in existence let alone the 40 – 50 that would be required for the CL teams to compete at the present level. English teams do worse, our coefficient drops and we lose CL places – perfect. Thank you Mr Platini for fucking up the sport I love.

  • aqqe

    This rule, if eventually put into practise, will ruin football. Why is there even a need for it in the first place? Like Wenger always says; football, and sport in general, rewards those who deserve it, regardless if the player in question were born in the country that his club represents or not. Platini hates Arsenal and our manager, so

    On a sporting level this is a disaster because the quality of the top leagues would diminish since, let’s take Arsenal as an example, would have to buy English players just because they are English. And we’re talking about alot of English players, because 5 of them must be fit and ready to play at all times. And how would playing with and against lesser players who don’t deserve to be where they are allow the gifted ones, such as Wilshere and Walcott, develop them to the level they could’ve reached? So the national team would not gain anything from this. Because I do suspect this has got quite alot to do with international football and the people in charge’s wish to focus on it. The influx of foreign players – which is the reason that the PL is the best league at the moment – didn’t start until roughly 1995. The English still didn’t win anything between 1966 and 1995, so what makes people think they would prosper again if young English players were given the chance this time?

    Apart from that I can see this leading to an exaggerated sense of nationalism (which is never good) and once at that stage, it’s not far from plain racism and divides amongst the players in the teams.

    This is an interesting subject, but frightening at the same time.

  • aqqe

    My previous post was sloppily written. My apologies!

    Keep up the good work though, mr Blogger.