All Star boycott threat

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The Independent Online

Tonight's Budweiser League All Star game is under threat of a players' boycott at Leicester's Granby Halls, writes Duncan Hooper.

The Players' Association is meeting in a Leicester hotel, three hours before the scheduled tip-off of the North v South game, to decide their response to the League's decision at the weekend to scrap the restriction on only two foreigners per club.

By yesterday five players had already decided to boycott tonight's game, but were still attending today's meeting where the BPA will consider a unified response and possibly even strike action. The All Star game could provide an irresistible platform for their protest, as it is to be screened live on Sky TV.

The League have pre-empted other Continental leagues and the international federation by responding to football's recent Bosman ruling which allows freedom of movement between EU countries.

The League fears it may lose over 20 players to the richer Continental competitions, but the players believe cheap imports will flood the domestic game and stifle the development of young English talent.