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The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has announced a tough new law preventing the import of non-EU players.

Up until the end of August, Serie A and Serie B teams will be permitted to sign only one player from outside the Europe Union.

After this date, which signifies the end of the Italian transfer window, clubs would no longer be able buy non-EU players. The ruling, set to stand for at least the rest of next season, also includes managers and coaches. The news comes on the back of Italy’s tough new immigration laws.

An FIGC spokesman said it needed to impose the ban in order to work out what the new laws meant for Italian football. Naturally, the ban has received a mixed reception. Many have drawn comparisons to the ban in 1996 which was imposed after the national team’s embarrassing defeat to North Korea in the World Cup. That block remained in place until 1980.

Sergio Campana, president of the professional player’s association said, “It will be good for football here. It will lead to greater opportunities for Italian players and create openings for them.”

Others are not so sure. With around 340 foreign players in the top two divisions last year – including the likes of Ronaldo, Nakata and Recoba – many teams rely on talent from outside Europe.

Roma boss Fabio Capello, who has 12 non-EU players in his squad, believes a limit would have been a better option.

“If a well-known player from outside Europe wanted to play here, it would be beautiful to see him. But this new measure means that this would be impossible.”

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