“We were at the crossroad between the interests of clubs and national teams, and the congress of Fifa has given very clear indications of where we have to go,” said Sepp Blatter as he pushed through his infamous rule about home grown players.
The crossroads is exactly where FIFA is. Its position has been undermined both by the legal cases bought against it (remember the judge who proclaimed “Fifa lied and lied and lied”) and the crazy antics of its leader (remember his comments about women appearing in shorter shorts).
But now it is trying a final desparate move – a move to make international football dominant over club football.
As a regular at Arsenal, I get into a lot of conversations about this that and everything else to do with football, and I hear a majority of people in and outside the ground talking up club football, and talking down internationals.
The argument against internationals is well known – players get injured, they are abused by managers who play them when they shouldn’t, and there is no proper compensation for the clubs who pay their salaries. The internationals are often meaningless (see this week’s England games) and they are often imbalanced in terms of the ability of the two sides (England v San Marino anyone?)
Now, however there is a chance to fight back – because the international is based on the same premise as Blatters 6+5 rule – that you can discriminate against an individual on the basis of his place of birth (or his parents, or his grandparents).
Here’s how it works. International associations are edging towards paying players for international games. So the international associations are the employers. But they employ on the basis of selecting by place of birth – illegal under EU law. So out go internationals.
Now that is something worth looking into.
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