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FIFA ask for rule change to stop Arsenal

According to a report from Reuters, Sepp Blatter is going to try and force through his plan to limit the number of non-national players in football clubs.   From Arsenal’s point of view this means a maximum of five non-English players in any one game.

This development would be against the law within the EU which allows for the free flow of players between member countries.  FIFA wants to bypass this by having a gentleman’s agreement.  Hopefully Arsenal would not fall for this, and would take FIFA to court.

UEFA does not back the plan – if they did they would probably be sued until they were bankrupt.   They want a deal on “locally trained players” which would suit Arsenal well since so many of our players join the club at a young age.

At the moment the EU puts up with UEFA and allows them to act in ways that in most areas of commercial life would be considered to be anti-competitive – but it would certainly not continue this friendly relationship if FIFA pushed through its rule.   UEFA has told FIFA that its change in the rules would lead to a long series of court cases that FIFA would lose.

UEFA remembers the way the European Court of Justice ruled against them in the Bosman ruling in 1995.  They would undoubtedly lose again.

If FIFA does push its rule through, the most likely outcome would be that the major clubs in Europe would simply walk out of FIFA and set up their own European League and Cup competitions.   FIFA would then ban these players from playing for their countries – leaving the national competitions and the World Cup as much devalued competitions.

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