FIFA president Sepp Blatter has pledged to stop European clubs from hoarding most of the world’s best players.
Blatter said European clubs were “drying out” football in Africa by signing the best young players and preventing professional leagues from developing.
“It cannot be that only one continent will be the focus of all football,” Blatter said.
Blatter was promoting his plans for a “six plus five” rule, which would force clubs by 2012 to field at least six homegrown players in their starting lineups and limit the number of foreigners to five.
“If there is a FIFA regulation that there shall be this six-plus-five system, then players in Africa and Asia and especially South America will stay home,” Blatter said. “It will be good for the development of football.”
He said federations outside Europe supported his plan “because the other continents are the suppliers of all the players in Europe.”
“We are now stimulating new leagues where players can earn their living decently,” he said.
“At the same time we are fighting, let us say, the drying out of local leagues in Africa.”
Blatter faces a struggle to get his plan implemented as it contravenes European law and officials insist that the proposal has no chance of being accepted by the EU.
UEFA favors a rule on “locally trained” players which would set a quota of players, of any nationality, on the squad who have been with the club for at least three years between the ages of 15 and 21.
“I appeal here also to Europe, not only to European football but the European Union, to look also for this solidarity,” Blatter said. “It is not enough to put money in development clubs all around the world but you should also maintain in the sporting spirit, the spirit of fair play.”
The rule will be discussed at the FIFA Congress from May 29-30 in Sydney, Australia.