Premier League to fight quotas

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The Independent Football

As Arsenal's chairman, Peter Hill-Wood, yesterday defended Arsène Wenger's right to pick an all-foreign squad, Uefa sent another warning that incoming rules on quotas for "home-reared" players will be rigorously enforced.

As Arsenal's chairman, Peter Hill-Wood, yesterday defended Arsène Wenger's right to pick an all-foreign squad, Uefa sent another warning that incoming rules on quotas for "home-reared" players will be rigorously enforced.

The Premier League also entered the debate, warning the sport's European governing body it will fight quotas in domestic football, adding it does "not consider it Uefa's place to interfere with the make-up of teams" in the Premiership.

The Football Association is still considering its position on the subject amid accusations that its vice-chairman, David Dein, has a serious conflict of interests in the matter. In his FA role, the future of the England team should be his priority, but his vice-chairmanship at Arsenal has led him to lobbying for his club above all else.

On the subject of squads devoid of British players, Hill-Wood said: "I don't mind as long as the team plays the right sort of football."

Uefa wants clubs to field four "home-reared" players, not necessarily home nationals, in European competition squads (of 25) from 2006, rising to eight by 2008. Yesterday Uefa said any team failing to abide by the quotas would have their squads cut in size. "For example, if you have only four home-grown players instead of eight, you will have to cut your squad to 21, not 25," Uefa's head of communications, William Gaillard, said.

Uefa hopes to have its plan adopted in domestic leagues, a move most countries in Europe support. But not the Premier League, which will fight it. "Any such move is debatably legally questionable," a spokesman said.

The FA is in an embarrassing position because Dein is lobbying, on Arsenal's behalf, against moves that are designed to benefit the England team. Dein's position has been criticised by Gordon Taylor of the Professional Footballers' Association.

The FA's chairman, Geoff Thompson, has also lobbied for the Premier League but he and the FA's new chief executive, Brian Barwick, have both been mute on the issue this week. England's coach, Sven Goran Eriksson, has, in the past, suggested support for quotas.

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