European Union sports ministers have told UEFA to expect a challenge in court when they implement their new their new rule promoting homegrown players.
The 25 sports ministers advised UEFA that the new rules must conform with the EU’s nondiscrimination laws.
Starting next season, each club’s 25-man European squad must contain at least two players trained at the team’s own youth academy and two other players from the club’s country.
The quotas will increase to four club-trained players and four from the home country in 2008.
“I have no doubt a legal challenge will come,” Britain’s sports minister Richard Caborn said Friday.
“We have to make sure that there is access to sport for all.”
EU ministers said the new rules could be interpreted as a form of discrimination.
“Wherever there is lack of clarity or possibilities for indirect discrimination then we are on risky ground,” EU commissioner for sports Jan Figel said.
Previous limits on EU players in European leagues were abandoned following the landmark Bosman ruling in 1995. The former Belgian player successfully sued to halt the practice of clubs requiring transfer fees for players whose contracts had expired.