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EU against limits on foreign soccer players
By Associated Press
May 8, 2008 - 8:09:57 AM

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BRUSSELS, Belgium —The European Parliament called on FIFA to scrap its plan to reintroduce limits on foreign players in team competitions.

The world soccer federation wants a rule to ensure six of the 11 players are from the club’s home nation. That defies the 1995 Bosman ruling that said discrimination on the grounds of nationality within European soccer is illegal.

The EU’s employment law upholds the principle of freedom of movement of workers, which allows EU soccer players to have equal status regardless of which member nation they play in.

The European soccer federation, UEFA, advocates a system different from the one FIFA wants, seeking to keep local flavor within club teams while adhering to the Bosman law.

Over the past two seasons, teams playing in UEFA’s continental competitions have had to include a set number of players who were groomed by the club and another number trained within the national league. By not specifically mentioning a nationality, the regulation sidesteps the Bosman rule.

In a paper on EU sports policy, the European Parliament backed the UEFA approach.

“FIFA wants to oblige clubs to invest more in ‘homegrown’ talent, a goal which we support 100 percent. Unfortunately, however, the ‘six plus five’ rule is not compatible with the free movement of persons in the EU,” said Belgian lawmaker Ivo Belet. “We therefore ask FIFA to join forces with the European Parliament and the European Commission and fully back the ‘homegrown’ rule.”

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