Fifa have voted in favour of the controversial ‘six-plus-five’ rule which would limit the number of foreign players eligible to represent club sides.
The president of football’s world governing body, Sepp Blatter, hopes to see the plan introduced by the 2012-13 season.
The ruling would limit the number of overseas players any one team can field in their starting XI to just five.
Despite warnings from the European Union that the rule would contravene freedom of movement regulations, Blatter insists that Fifa would proceed “within the limits of the law”.
“The congress was very happy in a result of overwhelming majority, with 155 votes in favour and five against. 155 yes and five no,” said Blatter.
“It is an overwhelming support to this resolution.
“The Fifa president has asked, together with the Uefa president (Michel Platini), to explore – and explore is not to discuss, it’s to go in depth – within the limits of the law.”
Blatter cited the recent successes of English clubs in the Champions League as a justification for introducing quotas.
“It’s to make sure that there is better balance in the competitions and not only three or four teams in a league of 18 or 20 are fighting to be the champion and all the others are just there to not be relegated,” added Blatter.
“As (Newcastle manager) Kevin Keegan recently said: ‘I can only start my season to fight to be fifth or sixth or seventh. It is impossible for me to go into the final four’.
“At the end of the Champions League in Europe you have in the quarter-finals four teams of the same association; in the semi-finals three of these teams.
“Then in the final you are surprised that you have two teams of the same association?
“We want to bring some remedies and this is the six-plus-five rule’s objective.”
Fifa’s decision to press ahead with the quota plan seems destined to put the organisation on collision course with the European governing body, Uefa, which is backing a rival ‘home-grown’ player system.
Uefa defines ‘home-grown players’ as team members who, irrespective of nationality, has been trained by their club or by another club in the National Association for at least three years between the ages of 15 and 21.
The EU have already given their backing to this proposal and would prefer to see Fifa drop their controversial proposal.
“Compared with the intentions announced by FIFA to impose the so-called ‘6-plus-5 rule’, which is directly discriminatory and therefore incompatible with the EU law, the ‘home-grown players’ rule proposed by UEFA seems to me to be proportionate and to comply with the principle of free movement of workers,” said EU Commissioner Vladimir Spidla.