FEU officials have raised the spectre of a flood of cases similar to the landmark Bosman ruling if it pursues president Sepp Blatter’s proposal to limit the number of foreigners playing for clubs.
Blatter is also expected to face stiff opposition from a number of top clubs over his plan to limit the number of non-nationals in a team’s starting line-up to just five per match from 2010.
“This contravenes the EU treaty and internal-market rules on the free movement of workers,” said Frederic Vincent, spokesman for European Union sports commissioner Jan Figel.
“A worker is a worker, so a player is a worker who earns a salary like everybody else.”
Blatter wants football to be given an exemption from the EU reform treaty which is due to be published next month.
“You cannot compare a worker with a football player,” Blatter told reporters during a conference call on Friday.
“You cannot consider a footballer like any normal worker because you need 11 to play a match – and they are more artists than workers.”
The G14, which represents 18 of Europe’s most powerful clubs, warned Blatter last year against creating such a rule.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, whose squad for its Champions League outing this week contained just one English-born player, said on Friday he opposed the move by Blatter.
“I am against it. Sport is competitive and competition is based on merit. It does not matter where you are born. It matters who you are.
“It is my first responsibility for my club for us to play the best football, with the best players.
“English players can go somewhere else to play,” he said.