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European Union warns FIFA off 'six-plus-five' rule

The European Union has stated that Fifa's plans to implement the 'six-plus-five' rule are illegal under EU rules.

On Tuesday, Fifa president Sepp Blatter expressed his hope that the 'six-plus-five' rule will be in place by 2012/13, whereby the number of foreign players in a starting line-up would be limited to five.

However, the European Union has formally backed Uefa's 'homegrown players rule' in a bid to avert Fifa's proposal.

Uefa's 'homegrown players' rule favours setting a quota of players, of any nationality, on the roster who have been with the club for at least three years between the ages of 15 and 21.

Vladimir Spidla, the EU's commissioner in charge of employment issues, said Blatter's plans to limit foreign players in domestic leagues are 'incompatible with EU law'.

Uefa director of communications William Gaillard has argued in favour of the 'homegrown players' rule despite the plans outlining that it does not necessarily have to be English players that are trained in academies.

He told Sky Sports News: "What was agreed between Fifa and Uefa is that the objectives of the 'six-plus-five' rule would be pursued within the limits of the law.

"The congress of Fifa will not vote on the rule they will vote on the objectives. The 'homegrown players rule' actually achieves, in great part, the objectives that the 'six-plus-five' rule is supposed to foster.

"In particular, the protection of club academies, national teams and youth. It has been clearly sated that the 'six-plus-five' rule is illegal under European law.

"The 'homegrown players rule' has been endorsed today by the European commission after being endorsed twice by the European parliament.

"The 'homegrown players' rule would protect English football and Premier League from nationality inequality. The local communities will also benefit from this rule."

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