I wanted to actually title the post: “Sepptic Bladder’s Piss Poor Plan” [hope you get the pun], but decided against it at the last moment. Oh well.
So it’s official now, at least from the folks at FIFA. Some 155 members voted in favour of what could change the dynamics of the sport.
Now we usually don’t have general footy articles here, but this is certainly relevant to every club. According to the plan each club must play a minimum of six national players. So in the case of English clubs it would mean 6 English players — not British. [So the O’Sheas and Fletchers don’t count]
Regulars would know my general apathy for the English national team, although I enjoy watching players like Rooney, Rio, Becks do well. But in general, I wouldn’t really care about the benefits the plan might have on England. However, if I do take my red tinted specs off for a moment, I would say that the idea is well intentioned in the sense that it attempts to restore some sort of order in the way players get poached from around Europe, Africa and South America. However, there is a reason why it wouldn’t work in England under the current set up.
Primarily, the 90-mile radius rule (or is it, 90km?) in England, where a club cannot sign youngsters beyond a radius of 90 km from the club makes the net pretty narrow for clubs to look at. As Brian McClair said when asked where the next Scholes and Giggs would come from: If the current academy system had been in place in the late 1980s United would not have signed Beckham, who grew up in Essex nor would they have signed the Nevilles, as they would have been snapped up by Bury at an early age and a prohibitive price put upon them. Scholes, he said, would have been at Oldham Athleticâ€™s academy. Giggs would not have had the chance to leave Manchester City for the club he supported. United might have got Butt; they might not.
So you see where this thing goes? Removing this rule might be a start if the FA is somehow forced into implementing the 6-5 rule.
However, if the current situation is to remain, then English clubs would have to deal with a bigger beast: sky rocketing prices of English talent. When teams are forced into having a preset minimum number of players the demand for English players will sky-rocket overnight. Players like Kieron Dyer might sell for as much as £25m; ridiculous as that sounds now, it could very much turn out to be true if the demand is to shoot up.
So what are the chances of this being enforced?
Well, for one, Michel Platini has given his endorsement to Blatter’s proposal. [Did anyone think he wouldn’t?] Blatter, meanwhile, feels hardly bothered by trifles such as European Labour Laws; “where there is a will there is a way” is his official line. So by that logic, I could will myself to become the manager of Manchester United. He will hold talks with the speaker of the European parliament on June 5.
I am not sure about the exact details of European laws, but I really don’t think they can stop FIFA. The FIFA rule does not specify how many footballers they can employ, but specifies the kind of players they can put out on the field during a game. So a club may employ as many foreigners as long as they put out only 5 out on the pitch. It doesn’t violate labour laws because there is no limit to the number of foreigners a club can recruit. It may go against the tenets of meritocracy — which is important in sport — but on the top of how things look to me, I wonder, beyond the noise made about labour laws in the EU, if the Europeans have a case to make against it.
All that said, getting back to United, I would want the club to have a good core of British players with a heady mix of foreigners. I wouldn’t like rigid laws dictate our team selection. Whilst this is expected to come in force in the 2012-13 season I would imagine clubs like Arsenal and Liverpool starting to think seriously about rebuilding than us.
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