Blatter gets green light
FIFA president Sepp Blatter defended his controversial 'six plus five' foreign player system at the European parliament here, saying it would nurture young talent and benefit the national game.
Plans to further explore the system, which would limit clubs to fielding six home-grown players and a maximum of five foreigners, were given an overwhelming endorsement by the FIFA Congress in Sydney last week.
Blatter was in Brussels for talks after the European Commission rejected the proposals, warning they would contravene EU labour rules.
"It's not only about the figure six plus five," said Blatter at a meeting with the parliament president Hans-Gert Pottering on Thursday.
"The objective is also the motivation of young players, the education of young players, to bring back an equilibrium in the competition, and naturally to have a strong national team and to give access to national team players to play in the best clubs."
During Thursday's meeting Pottering reiterated the commission's position, but said he would continue talks on the subject.
"I'm very happy of the proposal by the president that dialogue will go on," a delighted Blatter said.
"We are very prepared to take over this offer and to start a good dialogue to try to find whenever a solution on this matter. We have said we shall do that to explore it in the limit of the law."
Blatter is seeking the quota amid fears about the number of foreign players switching nationalities to play for different national teams, along with the competitiveness of club competitions.
He told the FIFA Congress in Sydney last week that he hoped to introduce the system from 2010 with a minimum of four home players, going up to five in 2011 and the full six by 2012.