Blatter's cap on foreign players impossible, says Platini

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Zurich, Oct 6:  FIFA president Sepp Blatter's plan to limit the number of foreigners allowed to play for a club is impossible, his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini said.

European soccer's top official yesterday said he backed the ''philosophy'' behind Blatter's scheme to cap the number of foreigners in a starting line-up to five from 2010.

But Platini said world soccer's governing body needed to accept the plan could not work in the European Union due to laws which allow free movement of labour.

''The philosophy is fantastic but legally it is difficult,'' Platini told Reuters.

''I can understand FIFA because they have 208 national associations and then there are 29 (EU members) who are all in our confederation. The philosophy is good but for me it is not possible.'' Blatter is expected to run into trouble over his plan, EU officials said on Friday, while the G14 which represents 18 of Europe's top clubs such as Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan have already voiced their opposition.

UEFA's ''homegrown player'' rule, which began in 2006 and means every squad involved in European club competition must have a minimum of eight locally-trained players, is already being probed by the EU.

''We want to create a European football charter by having a collective bargaining agreement that defends the specific nature of sport,'' Platini said.

''You cannot always look at football through the prism of competition law, you have to protect youth football, football academies and we have to reach agreement with the football families so we are not at the mercy of decisions taken by the commission or justice.'' Platini will chair the first meeting of FIFA's new strategic committee which is expected to discuss Blatter's new proposal.


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