FIFA president Sepp Blatter aims to ignore the European Union and UEFA over plans to curb foreign players, by pressing ahead with his scheme to introduce player quotas.
UEFA has so far dismissed Blatter’s proposal to restrict teams to five foreign nationals on the pitch as it contravenes EU laws on the free movement of workers.
Despite UEFA’s stance and EU opposition, Blatter will seek a “gentleman’s agreement” among the national associations, including those in Europe, at FIFA’s annual congress in Sydney next month.
UEFA favours reaching a deal with the EU’s executive Commission on its home-grown player rule which sets a quota of locally trained players – regardless of nationality. FIFA believes that this measure would not go far enough and allows too much exploitation of young players by clubs.
To change the rules, Blatter needs 75 percent support at the congress where each of FIFA’s 208 member associations have one vote each.
However, according to EU officials, Blatter is wasting his time trying to implement a policy that will ultimately be deeemed unlawful.
“As far as the EU is concerned, Blatter is flogging a dead horse and any discussion would have been pointless,” one EU official told Reuters.
Despite opposition from UEFA president Michel Platini, Blatters appears intent on pursuing the matter.
“He (Blatter) doesn’t want a war with UEFA or to anger the EU, but this is a point of principle for him,” one FIFA official said.
“When he became president he made a promise on this and he sees this as a major legacy of his time in office. He believes he can get a gentleman’s agreement with all the national associations.”
EU and UEFA officials warned that such a deal could prompt court cases challenging the rule and eventually end up before the European Court of Justice (ECJ).