FIFA and G-14 on 'foreigners' collision course

December 7, 2006

BRUSSELS, Dec 7 (Reuters) - FIFA must drop a proposal to limit the number of foreign players fielded by European clubs or face legal action, Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein said on Thursday.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has proposed that European clubs must field a minimum of six home players, with a maximum of five foreigners, otherwise known as the 'six-plus-five' rule.

'This is totally illegal and it will be challenged by the clubs,' Dein said.

'If FIFA want to light another fire then so be it, but this will be a very hot fire. I hope this idea does not go any further.'

Dein was speaking in Brussels as chairman of the G14, which represents 18 of Europe's richest clubs.

His organisation is at odds with the world governing body over a number of issues and also involved in two court cases related to the release of international players and compensation should they get injured.

'I appeal to FIFA for a period of calm. We are currently on the road to resolving a lot of the problems in the game, so there is no need to cause any more headaches,' Dein said.

Blatter believes his rule would protect the game at national level and bring clubs closer to the fans.

However, many within the sport, such as Dein and Europe's governing body UEFA, think the proposal is a breach of European law and rules of a free labour market in the European Union.