Friday, October 05, 2007

Eureka! Has Blatter finally come up with a good idea?

The man who brought us the dreadful silver and golden goals and decided that players who take off their shirt after scoring a goal should be booked, to list just a few of his previous bad ideas has finally potentially come up with a good one. Though it isn't a new one or come to that original. The man from the land of cuckoo-clocks himself Sepp Blatter, the FIFA supremo, has decided that it's about time someone challenged European Union rules in a bid to impose a quota on foreign players within European teams.

Blatter says that too many foreigners is bad thing "When you have 11 foreigners in a team, this is not good for the development of football, for the education of young players, and there is a financial aspect, too."

No doubting Arsene Wenger had got wind of Blatter's forthcoming interview with the BBC earlier this week when he stated that quota's would be bad for the standard of the Premier League. He would say that wouldn't he?

Blatter clearly had the Gunners in mind when launching his verbal broadside, but Arsenal are by no means the only club in the UK who have fielded entire teams of foreigner players. It wasn't that long ago that the 'Old Firm' derby in Glasgow had no Scottish players' taking part. At that time the Scottish national team was very, very poor. The warning bells were ringing for the future of the Scottish game and big time.

Move forward to 2007 and things are very different with both Rangers and Celtic fielding British and Scottish players, their results have improved dramatically as have the fortune's of the Scottish national team.

There could be a big downside to the quota system though, if indeed it ever gets introduced. While it would be good for the long-term future of England, players playing in England from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will no doubt be treated as foreigners, which was the case back in the early 90s.

Back in 94/95 when playing in Europe there was quota system in place and against Barcelona it deprived the Reds of Peter Schmeichel and Eric Cantona for a game in the Nou Camp in which we were thumped 4-0. Many Reds blamed that defeat squarely on the three foreigner rule.

Now if Blatter intends to bring in this ruling for our domestic league's as well as European competitions, then players from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could lose out as they may well have a less of chance of breaking into say the first team of United.

The devil will as ever be in the detail concerning the numbers, but no doubting that the FA and Premier League will argue that British players should be treated as a special case.


  1. The debate about this issue is on the dual nature of English football. There is the nature of the working man's game as was evident when the FA was set up and we had the Gunners to begin with (from a gunnery), and Manchester were prominent (the center of England's industrial revolution) and so on and so forth. But when this game was gaining universality, some players just had to be brought in to up the working man's game in quality. And now as the capital classes are soon finding enormous sums of wealth in the game, Manchester, and Arsenal can also be looked at in this dichotomy, as they began as working class clubs, and today they are the farthest from it. With United trying to capitalise maximum to work off debt, and Arsenal's stake being flung around, its no wonder that as foreign capital comes into this league, as this league gets hijacked by the bourgeois, foreign players will feature prominently at the expense of what's left of the English working class. The working man's game has now become a new source of capital.

  2. It's very true to say that money has lured foreign stars (together with these new 'owners') to these shores more than the much talked about 'excitement of the Premier League'. Anyone who'd argue otherwise is a fool IMO.

    The story of the 'working man's game' is one that is fast becoming something of a distant memory as more and more fans are being priced out of watching their favourite team.

    Your comments are specifically about the influence of money on the game, but the big question here is about the future of the English national team and those leagues around Europe where there's too many foreign players.

    Blatter is 100% right to be concerned, only the short-sighted and self-centred like Wenger would argue otherwise, but of course Wenger is French so why should he care what happens to the England team in five to ten years time? This is why Blatter concerns are valid. IF the clubs cannot be trusted to act sensibly then we cannot complain when the governing bodies intervene to try to ensure the long term good of our national team.


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