Blatter wants Europe to move to summer schedule

December 4, 2006

BERLIN, Dec 4 (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter has proposed ending the traditional summer break in European club football and moving the season to a February to November schedule.

'I've recently suggested to the clubs that they play through the summer and base the season on a calendar year,' Blatter, the head of world soccer's governing body, said in an interview with Kicker published on Monday.

'The season should run from the end of February to the end of November. Then there would be enough recovery time for the players and you could play three-week blocks of (international) qualifiers.

'The idea is supported by the major European clubs.'

Blatter also said he was confident his long talked about plan to limit the number of foreign players in European club football would soon come into force.

'The six-plus-five plan will come into force for sure,' Blatter said.

Blatter's plan would force clubs to play a minimum of six players eligible to represent the national team of their country, with a maximum of five foreign players making up the numbers.

'It will mean greater identification between clubs and their fans,' Blatter said. 'Secondly it will give more opportunity to talented players. Thirdly it will ease the financial pressure on clubs when they are bringing in players from their own training programme.'

Rules regarding freedom of movement within the EU could make such a limit impossible in Europe's big leagues.