The Fifa president Sepp Blatter believes that the European Union's Lisbon Treaty will allow the game's governing body to cap foreign players in domestic leagues, reports The Guardian.
The agreement, which was signed by all 27 nations that comprise the EU in the Portuguese capital yesterday, replaces Europe's ill-fated constitution and will abolish many national vetoes, especially in areas of justice and criminal affairs. It will also reduce the size of the European commission, give the EU a sitting president and foreign policy chief, and eventually change the voting clout of EU countries to reflect their size.
Along with a growing number of high-profile coaches and administrators, Blatter has long waged a battle against clubs who fill their starting line-ups with players from overseas and the Fifa president believes the new treaty will see sporting associations become exempt from the employment laws that give workers freedom of movement across the continent. That would allow Fifa to proceed with plans which will see teams forced to field at least six home-grown players at all times.
"You have people like Sir Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane, the coach of Sunderland, and Franz Beckenbauer and [Johan] Cruyff and [Uefa president Michel] Platini all working in the right direction and we are working for the identity of football," said Blatter. "They have accepted a new treaty in Europe and they discussed the specificity of sport and its statutes are guaranteed. We don't want to fight any laws or authority but we want football to exist as a good family."
Blatter stressed the national identity of a club is lost if overseas-born players dominate and that England's failure to qualify for Euro 2008 had given the issue a higher profile. "We have to maintain, if not the local idea of a club then at least the national identity of a club," he said. "It does not look good if you have a club in a country and there are no national players on the team."