Fifa press on with 6+5 plan

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The Independent Online

Fifa will press ahead with plans to increase the number of home-grown players at clubs after a study said the idea was compatible with European law.

The 6+5 proposal, where club would have to field six players eligible for their league's national side, had stalled after European Union chiefs said it breached the bloc's strict rules on free movement of workers.

A legal study conducted by the Institute for European Affairs (INEA) has offered hope to Fifa.

"At least what we can say with the study is that our approach is not incompatible with European law," Fifa President Sepp Blatter told reporters after a meeting of the world governing body's executive committee.

"Can you imagine what would happen if all political entities in the world... made the same intervention in sports as the EU? There would be no international sports."

If the 6+5 idea is finally defeated, Blatter said the battle for its adoption would have fringe benefits.

"The autonomy of sport, this is the objective. The objective is not 6+5. Already you can see it more and more - local players are playing for local clubs," he said.

As well as taking on the EU, Fifa is at loggerheads with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) over the strict whereabouts rule.

Under the new requirements, athletes have to inform their national anti-doping authorities of their location for an hour every day. Tennis players have said the rules are too draconian while Fifa thought team sports would be more greatly distinguished from individual pursuits.

"We thought with WADA everything was okay. But now we are a bit surprised by certain declarations by WADA that there will be no exceptions for any sports," Blatter said.

"We have written a letter from our scientific department to WADA. It is not a question of not fighting doping, but one should not go in for witch-hunting as this has never had a good outcome."

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